Domestic Violence

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 15:47 :24 ): I rise today to speak about domestic violence and, particularly, violence against women. I rise to pay tribute to the Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty. Rosie Batty, I think, is the most extraordinary of women who has become known to the whole of this nation, and indeed honoured as Australian of the Year, for what is unfortunately the most ordinary of events, that is, domestic violence and, in this case, the murder of Luke by his own father. Ms Batty said, on her receipt of the award of Australian of the Year:

To the Australian people, look around. Do not ignore what you see and what you know is wrong. Call out sexist attitudes and speak up when violence against women is trivialised. To men, we need you to challenge each other and become part of the solution. Raise the conversation and don't shy away from this uncomfortable topic. We cannot do this without you. To the women and children who are unsafe, in hiding or living in fear, who have changed their names, left their extended families and moved from their communities to find safety, you do not deserve to live a life that is dictated by violence. You are not to blame.

Just as Luke was not to blame and Rosie Batty was not to blame, those who find themselves the victims of violence and intimidation are not to blame.

I commend the Labor Party, the new Labor government in Victoria, for their stand on this issue which transcends simple rhetoric, and the announcement during the election campaign in that state of a royal commission has been made good by the new Premier, Daniel Andrews. I commend also that in that state there is now a Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence.

I think all political parties should take this issue seriously, and there is no more visible way for any political party to show that they take this seriously than by dedicating a ministry to this issue. Minister Fiona Richardson is working with the Premier and there will be a royal commission in Victoria this year to address the issue of domestic and family violence.

We know the effect is profound. We know that one person every week is killed at the hands of an intimate partner, someone they do love or have loved. We know that this is one of the biggest impacts on the health of women. We know that it affects women's capacity to work, to live their life to the fullest, and, for financial sustainability, it impacts on their ability to maintain contact with the workplace and on their future super.

It is a priority for any government, and while I commend the Weatherill government for its words recently on this issue and note that they are looking at perpetrator-pays programs, working at ensuring that those who suffer domestic violence will have the ability to break leases and working with landlords on that particular issue, and while I welcome the Weatherill government's signing up to Our Watch, there is more that can be done here.

If we are to have a royal commission into the nuclear industry in this state, and if we are to refer equality for a legal review, then surely domestic violence should be given that same import by this government and take the lead of the new Premier in Victoria, Daniel Andrews, and refer domestic and family violence in our state to a royal commission so that we do not stand here and mourn victims.

I think everyone in this place would have, at some stage, shown their support in opposing violence against women. I think that community conversation is happening, but with the power and the force and the recommendations of a royal commission behind that perhaps we will see real action. With that, I urge the Premier to consider a royal commission into domestic violence.

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