Wednesday, 13 February 2019
Prevention of Violence Against Women
That the Senate—
(i) recent violent crimes against numerous women,
(ii) that blame for these crimes rests with the perpetrators, not the victims,
(iii) that, despite all policy efforts and wishful thinking, there will always be some individual men in our community intent on violence against women,
(iv) that the first duty of government is to protect citizens from harm, but police cannot be everywhere at all times, so citizens must be allowed, if they choose, to deter and defend against attacks,
(v) that the innate ability of individuals to deter and defend against attacks varies, with women and the elderly generally more vulnerable,
(vi) that pepper spray can assist deterrence and self-defence, particularly for the vulnerable,
(vii) that the use of pepper spray is generally non-lethal and does not require prior training,
(viii) that pepper spray is unlikely to be used for criminal attacks, and
(ix) that, in most other countries, pepper sprays are not even regulated, let alone prohibited; and
(b) calls on the Australian Government to legalise the importation of pepper spray, subject to the state governments legalising the carrying of pepper spray, to deter and defend against attacks.
The government agrees that the protection of its citizens and particularly women is of the highest importance; however, the majority of the matters raised in this motion fall within state and territory jurisdictions. It is up to the states and territories to deal with the legalisation of carrying such defence weaponry before any proposal to deal with the importation of it can then be considered.
The Senate has already rejected a motion just like this one, moved by Senator Anning last year, which suggested that women should be responsible for their own safety and carry weapons to prevent attacks from violent men. The thing that will keep women safe is men not attacking them.
I did vote against Senator Leyonhjelm the last time around because it involved tasers and I didn't want them to get into the hands of anybody. I reject Senator Leyonhjelm's recent tweets over the Mandurah rape and murder, when he pointed out that I voted against this identical thing, to protect women. I'm not opposed to pepper spray. I know policewomen who carry pepper spray even though it's illegal. So on this part of it, Senator Leyonhjelm, I will actually be supporting you. But the taser part of it was immoral and wrong.