Senate debates

Thursday, 25 November 2021


International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

10:29 am

Photo of Simon BirminghamSimon Birmingham (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | Hansard source

I have a funny feeling that the two of us might have been about to rise and say something similar.

We have heard some incredibly thoughtful, heartfelt contributions across this chamber. They are important contributions and reflections on a very important issue of relevance to our society in Australia and right around the world, particularly in some nations that I know Senator Payne and Senator Wong, in particular, reflected upon. It's right that we have heard those contributions and it is also right that we have listened to those contributions. By 'we' I reflect particularly upon the men of this chamber. To date in this debate, we have heard from the many thoughtful, powerful leading women who lead our nation. We are fortunate, across all of our parties, to have these voices here with us. It is something this chamber should be so proud of in terms of the changed reflection that has occurred here with the composition of this chamber even in my time here and over an even longer period of time.

While it is right that we listen as men and that we hear the voices of women, it is also right that we take responsibility, that we show leadership and that we not be silent on these matters. As men we too should be clear that change is needed. Change to culture is needed, and that change comes from leadership, from our own behaviours, by setting an example, by calling out what is unacceptable, by making sure—as current campaigns indicate—that we stop it at the start. We need to stop it at the start in terms of domestic violence, gender based violence and violence that does afflict the lives of far too many families. We need to stop it at the start because we know from the research there are intergenerational aspects in relation to gender based and family based violence. In doing so, we take a stand as men alongside women, alongside all, in ensuring that we heed the messages in this motion and that we don't just listen but act.

I thank the women of this chamber and the many women advocates across Australia, particularly the victim-survivors and their families across Australia, for their advocacy, persistence, the dedication that they have shown and for the manner in which, over a long period of time, so many women have helped to change attitudes, change awareness and make sure that we all understand the need to take a greater sense of responsibility.


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