House debates

Monday, 22 February 2021

Constituency Statements

Domestic and Family Violence

10:46 am

Photo of Ross VastaRoss Vasta (Bonner, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

On Friday we paused to remember the loss of three innocent souls through one of the most callous and devastating acts of domestic violence Australian had ever seen. The murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children, Aaliyah, Laianah, and Trey, by her estranged husband was a day when we all hugged our children a little tighter. Our community was in shock. A beautiful family lost their daughter and their grandchildren. A school community lost three beautiful students and friends. On Friday we lit a candle as the sun went down to remember that in darkness there is always light. Twelve months on, that light is shone brightly by Hannah's parents, Sue and Lloyd Clarke, who have honoured their loved ones by working to put an end to the incidence and severity of domestic and family violence in Australia.

Today I want to honour their legacy and the Small Steps 4 Hannah foundation. I want to honour Hannah's bravery for walking away and for fighting for her children. Through Small Steps 4 Hannah, Lloyd, Sue and Nat Clarke have started a movement for change, and I'm very pleased to see that their words have turned into actions. Last week the Queensland Premier announced she would appoint a task force to investigate how they can legislate against coercive control. I would like to commend the premier for taking up the cause and agreeing to work with domestic and family violence services and frontline workers to better protect victims of non-physical and physical domestic violence. I believe this is a tremendous credit to the Small Steps 4 Hannah foundation, and I encourage all our other states and territories to pick up the momentum to help protect domestic violence victims. No family should endure this pain again.

Through the Small Steps 4 Hannah foundation, Lloyd and Sue have started the HALT movement. HALT exists to halt the cycle of domestic violence so that everyone can feel respected, informed and confident to act and to be safe. They are doing this through fundraising, events and partnership to bring the community with them on this journey. Their key focus is around education and advocacy and around funding projects and supporting people in the community who are living with domestic and family violence. I've been very privileged to get to know Carolyn Robinson from Beyond DV, who runs Lillian's Place, a safe space to help women who have left a domestic violence situation and to work to get their lives back, from understanding and managing their finances to job interviews and workshops on self-worth and self-esteem. I have seen firsthand the amazing work that can be achieved when the community comes together.

I first visited the centre last year, and it is growing in leaps and bounds. We cannot change the world in one day. It is done one step at a time—a mantra that I believe Small Steps 4 Hannah embodies. With one small step at a time, we can put an end to domestic and family violence. One step at a time we are giving victims the confidence to walk away knowing that they will be safe and that the laws are in place to protect them. One step at a time we will make sure that no family will endure this pain again. (Time expired)