Senate debates

Monday, 9 August 2021


Domestic and Family Violence

1:30 pm

Photo of Jenny McAllisterJenny McAllister (NSW, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Cabinet Secretary) Share this | Hansard source

At the end of July hundreds of family and domestic violence frontline workers, academics, policy experts and, most importantly, victim-survivors were due to meet in Canberra for a summit on women's safety. Unfortunately that summit has been delayed. It is another victim of the Morrison government's failure to prepare and plan for a possible next wave of the virus, and that's a shame because the government needs to listen to and meet with the brave, hardworking men and women who were due to speak at that summit.

In recent weeks my Labor colleagues and I have been meeting with those groups. We've been holding our own roundtables to listen to them. Their message to the government is very clear: it is time for a serious and comprehensive response to violence. We are done with attending vigils and thinking that that is enough. We are done with crisis responses for women in the throes of violence only to find that there is little economic or practical support once the immediate circumstances have passed. What is needed instead is a serious commitment to engage at every point in the cycle. The way the workers describe it is this: we need prevention, we need early intervention, we need responses and we need recovery. That is a model that is familiar to frontline emergency service workers. It's familiar to health workers. But it's not the model that is comprehensively in place to deal with violence against women and children, the violence in our families. It describes a service response that's comprehensive not patchy. It's what's desperately needed. The workers had a particular message for the Australian government: you have to take responsibility for fixing up your own backyard. Centrelink, the migration system, the welfare system, it's yours to— (Time expired)


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