Senate debates

Thursday, 25 November 2021


International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

10:00 am

Photo of Bridget McKenzieBridget McKenzie (Victoria, National Party, Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience) Share this | Hansard source

I'd like to associate the National Party with the contributions made today on this important topic.

A few weeks ago, grieving parents Lloyd and Sue Clarke were nominated for Queensland Australians of the Year. They were nominated in recognition of their efforts to halt the cycle of domestic and family violence so that all Australians can feel respected and safe. The story behind their nomination is tragic, but, sadly, as we know, too common. After the shocking loss of their daughter, Hannah Clarke, and grandchildren Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey in February last year, Sue and Lloyd founded Small Steps 4 Hannah in a bid to educate Australia about coercive control and domestic violence. The murder of Hannah Clarke and her children was a line-in-the-sand moment in Australia, where members of the community came together and said that, where domestic and family violence is concerned, enough is enough. Anti-family-violence campaigner and 2015 Australian of the Year Rosie Batty rose above her tragedy, the great loss of her 11-year-old son, Luke, to domestic violence, and was able to put domestic violence on the national agenda.

On this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, it is crucial that as a government we provide education and support services, in partnership with states and territories, to protect women who are at risk of violence. No matter where you live, you deserve to have equal access to these services. The National Party knows that women in regional and rural Australia face unique circumstances due to their geographical location. Sadly, our women in the regions are more likely to experience domestic and family violence than women in urban areas.

Our government, the Liberal and the National parties, are committed to ensuring these services are readily available. We've taken this matter incredibly seriously and delivered more than $1 billion of initiatives around women's safety, including $164 million in financial assistance to individuals, through escaping violence payments; $260 million for new partnership agreements; and a raft of other initiatives. We provide ongoing funding to specialist domestic violence units. We know that there are many barriers that victims of domestic violence face and we know that there is no simple answer. That is why we'll continue to listen to the voices of those who know. We're now developing the next National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children, and today we announced an investment of $2.8 million over three years for the women's voices project. That will include a national summit for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, chaired by June Oscar. The next national plan is currently in development, and I'm sure Senator Ruston will have more to say about that.

We can as men and women in this place and as leaders in our own communities—and many of us as parents can raise our sons and our daughters to respect others—stand up and call out bad behaviour as we go about our business as senators, and be respectful to each other and demonstrate and live those values not just at home but in our workplace. We can always do more and we are committed. Behind every statistic in a tragic story. We'll continue to listen to those stories to provide any necessary support to these victims and help them to recover.


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