Saying 'No' to Domestic and Family Violence

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

I also welcome this opportunity to speak on this matter of public importance
moved by the member for Griffith. If there ever was a matter of public importance, this surely would be it. Domestic and family violence is about more the what is spoken about in this place and in these corridors; it is also about shifting the culture across our nation. I want to commend all speakers in this very important debate, particularly the member for Lindsay. I thank the member for Lindsay for her courage in speaking out. I certainly hope that that will encourage more people to also speak out and, in doing so, help us shift the culture across the nation.

As the Prime Minister said in his address to this morning's White Ribbon breakfast, what we are talking about today is a matter of respect.

Disrespecting women does not always result in violence against women. But all violence against women begins with disrespecting women.

This is backed up by the national statistics, which are shocking. One in three women have been a victim of physical or sexual violence since the age of 15 by someone known to them. One in four women have been emotionally abused by a partner, and one woman dies almost every week at the hand of a current or former partner.

When I spoke earlier today with Brisbane Water Local Area Command Superintendent Danny Sullivan it became clear that these statistics are just as true in my electorate of Robertson, where, on average, every two hours a police vehicle will respond to a domestic violence call on the Central Coast—not every two weeks, not every two days, but every two hours. That is why I helped to facilitate a local domestic violence committee in my electorate with local community leaders and local experts meeting together to discuss grassroots solutions and to also help start a conversation with more families, teachers, young people and schools, in particular. Slowly, I believe that we can see a change in the conversation on the Central Coast and across our nation.

We can see this in one simple but breathtaking local visual statement, where Brisbane Water Local Area Command has overseen an extraordinary community push to plant white poppies on the grass at The Skillion at Terrigal this year. Similar to a sea of red poppies earlier this year as we commemorated Anzac Day, these white poppies honour the thousands of victims of domestic and family violence. I am told that volunteers worked for hundreds of hours to hand-make 55,000 poppies that were placed there on Monday in the shape of a ribbon.

Terrigal provides a stunning backdrop to the display, a display which was three years in the making. Our local police partnered with women's empowerment and advocacy group Zonta to help make the display a reality, and I am advised that the Central Coast Council also contributed $6,000 for the materials. We even had local businesses lending a helping hand, with Burson Auto Parts at Gosford donating screwdrivers at short notice after volunteers arrived to discover that the ground was too hard for the wooden poppy stems. School students walking past have been dropping in to help out and the local newspaper, the Express Advocate, has done an excellent job in promoting this initiative. I commend Superintendent Sullivan and his team, including Gillian Mitchell, Tim Jeffrey, Jessica Bradbury, Nick Carroll and Peter Watson. These are our local men and women on the front line, who do an outstanding job. I look forward to meeting them on Sunday and encourage our community to join us as we walk up the Terrigal Skillion to make a statement in condemning the actions of those who commit domestic violence.

I also take this opportunity to commend the Turnbull government on its announcement today of the new eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant. The commissioner will have a strong focus on online safety and the issue of non-consensual sharing of intimate images, often described as revenge porn. She has a big task ahead, but I am pleased to see that the Turnbull government will conduct a public consultation process on proposed civil penalties in this area, targeted at both the perpetrators and those sites which host intimate images and videos shared without consent.

There is much more that this government is doing too, including a $30 million national campaign called Stop it at the Start to change young people's attitudes to women and violence, in partnership, of course, with our states and territories. We have also launched the third action plan, with an additional $100 million investment. This complements the existing work of states and territories around Australia, including in New South Wales, where video is now collected by police when attending a domestic violence incident which is then able to be submitted to court as evidence. I understand from Superintendent Danny Sullivan that our local police command is leading the state in taking advantage of this initiative. Finally, we have the $100 million Women's Safety Package, which includes expanding the 1800RESPECT frontline services, drastically reducing wait times. I commend the government on its strong leadership and approach to this most important of issues and encourage all of us here to continue to promote the need for leadership in standing up against domestic and family violence.

Making things happen for Robertson

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