Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) (Recognition of National Domestic Violence Orders) Amendment Bill 2016

Legislative Council 
Tuesday 29 November 2016

 

Second reading speech. 

Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) (Recognition of National Domestic Violence Orders) Amendment Bill  2016

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 16:34 :28 ): I rise on behalf of the Greens to support the government's Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) (Recognition of National Domestic Violence Orders) Amendment Bill 2016. I am speaking a little quickly because I am hoping that we will actually see this bill progressed through this place a little more quickly than it has to date. I have been ready to speak on this bill for some months now and, while it is not in the government's priority list, I do hope we see its passage this week before the conclusion of the parliament.

The Greens support this bill, and congratulate the government on beginning the long journey to changing the story on domestic violence in South Australia. It is commendable to see what would appear to be common sense prevail in the law. An intervention order, regardless of where it is made, should be enforceable in South Australia; likewise, the system need not encourage further contact with offenders. This bill will allow simply being present in court when the order is made to be adequate. Similarly, because domestic violence needs attention and special consideration, having an order declared as one of a domestic violence concern will allow police and services to fully understand what they are dealing with and all the concurrent risks.

Of course, it would be simplistic to speak on this bill without remembering that the lack of communication and information sharing between services has contributed to great tragedies in this state in the past. The Greens hope this is a first step in healing a system that has previously failed to protect innocent people from offenders. While there are many people who give so much of their efforts to assisting those experiencing and at risk of domestic violence, it is our job as parliamentarians to ensure they are given the appropriate legislative framework to allow them to do that job with real power.

Now that this place has the opportunity to do so, I would like to take the opportunity to extend our congratulations to Lauren Novak and Sheradyn Holderhead of the Sunday Mail and The Advertiser for winning the category of Best Journalism Campaign in the 2016 Our Watch Awards, with 'Knowing what we are up against'. The Our Watch Awards are administered by the Walkley Foundation, and recognise exemplary reporting to end violence against women and children. I commend these two journalists on their commitment to reporting a part of our society that it is all too easy to shy away from.

I would also like to extend my congratulations to finalist Selina Green from the ABC South East breakfast program for her stories, entitled, Mount Gambier community domestic violence forum, Rosie Batty domestic violence forum, Candlelight vigil Lee-Ann Thompson, Bystander workshop, and Study into domestic violence in rural areas.

I also acknowledge the work of the parliament's Social Development Committee for its report on domestic and family violence that was tabled in this place on 12 April this year. I look forward to the further implementation of the recommendations of that report and acknowledge the committee's wisdom in acknowledging that domestic violence intersects with so many areas, including homelessness, employment, rural and remote communities, and communities from CALD and ATSI origins.

I also highlight that, as part of those recommendations, the committee implored the state government to lobby the commonwealth to secure a minimum funding term of three years for domestic and family violence services to be delivered in a way that would allow them to plan strategically. From this last point I can say that, in the 2016 state budget, the state government has promised $1.3 million to introduce this scheme. It has also given itself these tasks this year, to name only a few:

  • releasing a domestic violence discussion paper consulting on specific topics regarding reform, and updating the community on current initiatives;
  • developing and implementing South Australian initiatives as part of the Third Action Plan under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children; and
  • expanding the Staying Home Staying Safe program for women and children experiencing domestic violence.

All this is highly commendable and the Greens wait, with much anticipation, to see not just the realisation of these promises but the passage of this bill.

I do express concern that this bill has not been on the priority list. While it is a great reform I raise the question: how many people who could have benefited from these new measures to ensure that intervention orders are not hampered by state borders, have not been supported by this bill in the past months that it has languished on the Notice Paper? With those few words, I commend the bill.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. T.J. Stephens .

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