South Australia is awesome (but we all knew that). Apart from all our amazing festivals, stunning beaches, cracking wine, oh the list could go on and on… Did you know that SA is one of the most progressive states in Australia?
So, in the spirit of Flashback Friday, we are kicking it old school. Travelling back through time to the distant and not so distant past, we celebrate a few times that South Australia was the awesome, progressive state.
Looking back at these defining moments not only shows us how far we’ve come, but also how far we still have to go, regarding other social and political issues. But hey, we are getting there…
And here they are:
ONE. Good old South Australia was the first state to allow women to vote. Now if that isn’t awesome then we don’t know what is! It sort of makes us want to go all ‘Sisters Doing It For Themselves’ up in here.
To give you the more factual rundown, in 1894 South Australia allowed women to stand for parliament, and it was one of the first places in the world to give women the right to vote. Women stuck it to the man and wouldn’t quit until they finally won the right to vote.
We beat out the big guns including the United Kingdom and the Unites States. Super impressive.
While this was a victory for women in South Australia, Indigenous women across the country did not receive the same rights until decades later.
TWO. Ok, this one is impressive…. The University of Adelaide was the first uni in Australia and the second in the world to admit women into academic courses. That all happened in 1881 and by 1885 Australia had its first female graduate from right here in (R)Adelaide. Right on!
THREE. South Australia became the first state to grant Aboriginal peoples title to their land in 1966. What a progressive milestone, but sort of sad to think that the issue of land title even existed in the first place.
After nearly two centuries of the colonisation of Australia, that land title was finally given back to the land’s traditional owners.
FOUR. Now this subject might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it is important to note that in 1969 SA became the first state in Australia to make abortion legal.
This gave way to a safe and affordable option for women, plus led to the destigmatisation of the whole issue. We can only hope that the negativity surrounding women’s reproductive freedom continues to diminish.
FIVE. Our state was the first in the country to decriminalise gay sex. After a few little hiccups (the Bill was rejected), in 1975 the Bill was finally accepted and the law was changed.
South Australia also became the first state to consider allowing civil unions for same-sex couples, thanks to MP Mark Brindal’s proposed Bill in 2004, and in 2011 the state law recognised co-mothers in same sex relationships who had children. Shout-out to Mark, you are awesome.
SIX. And this one is so on topic… Hello Feast Festival! Celebrating all things LGBTIQ, this festival began in 1997 and will run for its 19th year starting on November 14th.
Today, Feast is one of the largest LGBTIQ Festivals in Australia and it has become an international event, bringing performers from all over the world. We are still hyperventilating over the fact that Conchita Wurst will be here!
Just as a little extra note, South Australia introduced new laws in 2009 to remove (or at least reduce) sexuality discrimination. This is a very important Act, as it protects transgender and intersex South Australians, who face very high rates of violence and harassment. Let the positive changes continue…
SEVEN. The first council in the whole of Australia to fly the rainbow flag…was Marion City Council, right here in Adelaide, in 2015.
The city council proudly flew the flag alongside the Australian, South Australian, and the Aboriginal flag. Just as we think it should be. The flag did face some unfortunate opposition and the Council had to vote to keep it flying, and fly it does!
We hope to see many more rainbow flags flying proudly across Adelaide and South Australia soon. And may our great state continue on the progressive path as we head into the future.