House debates

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Questions without Notice

Domestic and Family Violence

2:48 pm

Photo of Jane PrenticeJane Prentice (Ryan, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations and the Minister for Women. Will the minister please update the House on how the government is acting to keep vulnerable women and children safe, including through our humanitarian programs?

Photo of Kelly O'DwyerKelly O'Dwyer (Higgins, Liberal Party, Minister for Jobs) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Ryan for her question and for her strong interest in this very important matter. As the Prime Minister has said, it is our duty as a government to keep Australians safe. We take that duty incredibly seriously. Since 2015, the government has invested more than $420 million in initiatives to help keep women and children safe, including initiatives announced only this week that will help women with emergency accommodation when they are fleeing domestic and family violence and also help to keep those women who want to remain in their homes safe in their homes.

The government, of course, takes the financial security of women very seriously as well, helping women to build their financial security through the Women's Economic Security Statement. Over $100 million of initiatives were announced last year, for the first time ever, to help build women's financial resilience, capability and security.

It's very timely that the member for Ryan asks about humanitarian programs, as only this morning I had the great privilege, along with the Prime Minister, of attending the UN Women's International Women's Day Breakfast. We can be very proud, as a country, of the fact that we are one of very few countries in the world that specifically support the resettlement of women at risk of victimisation, harassment or serious abuse because of their gender through our Women at Risk program. But we can only do that if we control our borders. Controlling our borders means that we can offer security and safety to women, like the 23-year-old Afghan woman who was sold by her father at the age of six years to a member of the Taliban. She was raped each and every day for a number of years. She bore four children. She was finally able to escape her circumstances in Pakistan and resettle here in Australia, thanks to our Women at Risk program. Sadly, her story is not unusual, but the government is helping women just like her. In fact, since 2013, more than 7,000 women and children have found safe refuge in our country because of our Women at Risk program. In the last financial year alone, 2,100 women and children have been able to find safe refuge here, which is more than at any other time in our history.

Those opposite talk a lot about compassion, and they're very conspicuous in their talk about compassion, but real compassion is delivering safety and security, which is what we are doing, and those opposite risk it.