International Day for the Elimination of Violence against WomenSpeech
One in three women in Australia have experienced physical or sexual violence from a cohabiting partner.
I rise to support the member for Newcastle's motion with all the strength I possess because 45 Australian women have been murdered by domestic violence in this year alone. And I support the member for Newcastle's motion because the COVID pandemic has aggravated an already sickening situation. And I support the member for Newcastle's motion because something needs to be done now. I thank and commend the member for shining a light on an issue of national disgrace—an issue of crisis upon which this House has too often been silent.
The scourge of domestic violence in this country calls for real leadership. Regular acknowledgments of particular tragedies is simply not good enough, but that is what has been offered by the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government over the past seven years. In the midst of a year when experts called for heightened vigilance, the Morrison government quietly slashed more than $1 million from the school based anti domestic violence education program Respect Matters. In the 2020-21 budget, this government halved its funding commitment to this vital program, cutting almost $1½ million across the forward estimates. Cultural change is hard won in the best conditions. It cannot and will not be won without real commitment from the federal government. Cultural change requires brave and uncompromising leadership, and it requires brave and uncompromising leadership every day—not just a headline after another case of catastrophic violence. Too many women and children have been left broken, scarred and abandoned because of this inaction. Instead, we need to press a national conversation, and that conversation must not discriminate based on culture, creed or geography because domestic violence does not.
Our message needs to be simple and clear: we value women, we value children, we as a parliament value women and children, we as a nation value women and children, and we will do whatever we can to protect those who are suffering from this scourge. The safety of these people, particularly women and children, is everyone's business inside and outside this House, and everyone has a role to play. When I was mayor at the Surf Coast Shire, we introduced groundbreaking 10 days of family violence leave. This leave enables women to escape a violent situation and protect their children from such exposure. Importantly, it enables women to maintain a job, a wage, their superannuation and a sense of normality. It is the position of our party, and I thank the shadow minister for families and social services for earlier today introducing her private member's bill which seeks to secure 10 days of family violence leave for everyone.
Family violence organisations do an unconceivably difficult and vital job. Every year domestic services demand reaches epidemic levels. 1800RESPECT alone provided 20,000 services in the 12 months to 30 June. This represents a 65 per cent increase in service provisions from the previous year. It is the responsibility of this House to equip family violence workers to do their job effectively. Too many family violence organisations are struggling to meet the demand for their services, yet the Morrison government failed to provide additional funding in the budget and now they're hoping to cut the Family Court—another step in the wrong direction. Indeed, it has cut additional funding where it is most needed.
This government needs to listen to the family violence sector. That sector has called in a singular chorus for more support—more support to help women escape violence; more support to help children escape violence; and more support to end violence. I support the member for Newcastle's motion and I thank her for it. Thank you.Share Tweet