Thursday, 18 February 2021
Statements by Members
Domestic and Family Violence
Tomorrow will mark 12 months since the tragic murder of Hannah Clarke and her three beautiful children, Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey. My thoughts are with Hannah's family and her friends as they mark this unrelentingly sad anniversary.
Five days after Hannah and her children were murdered last year, I stood in this chamber and called on Prime Minister Morrison and the Attorney-General to act. I called on them to do something urgently to stem the tragic tide of deaths due to family violence. I called on them to do what frontline domestic violence workers have long been calling for and what even a bipartisan parliamentary committee report, with a coalition chair, had recommended back in 2017. I called on the Morrison government to amend the Family Law Act by repealing section 61DA, which contains the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility. It's a small legislative amendment that wouldn't cost anything but would save lives.
By June last year, when the Morrison government had still not acted, I introduced a private member's bill into this parliament—a bill that received wide support from women's legal services; Small Steps 4 Hannah, the foundation set up after Hannah's death; Bravehearts; and many others. My private member's bill is still sitting there. Members from both sides of the chamber have already spoken on it, and more will do so this Monday. But still the Prime Minister will not act. Words are cheap, Prime Minister. Action takes real courage. It's time to grow a spine, Prime Minister.