Wednesday, 11 September 2019
Domestic and Family Violence
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) since my last motion on this issue in the Senate, there have been a further 6 women killed by violence in Australia, taking the overall national toll for 2019 to 35, as reported by Counting Dead Women Australia from Destroy The Joint, and a further death of a young woman in Queensland is still under investigation,
(ii) there is no national government reporting program to record the ongoing toll of women killed by violence in real-time,
(iii) on average, one woman is murdered every 9 days by her current or former partner,
(iv) according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey 2016:
(A) more than 370,000 Australian women are subjected to violence from men each year,
(B) 1 in 3 Australian women has experienced physical violence,
(C) 1 in 5 Australian women has experienced sexual violence,
(D) 1 in 6 Australian women has experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner,
(E) 1 in 4 Australian women has experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner,
(F) Australian women are nearly three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner, and
(G) Australian women are 2.5 times more likely to be hospitalised for assault injuries arising from family and domestic violence than men, with hospitalisation rates rising by 23% since 2014-15,
(v) in 2017, young women aged between 15-34 accounted for more than half of reported sexual assaults,
(vi) there is growing evidence that women with disabilities are more likely to experience violence,
(vii) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women report experiencing violence at 3.1 times the rate of non-Indigenous women,
(viii) in 2016-17, Indigenous women were 32 times as likely to be hospitalised due to family violence as non-Indigenous women,
(ix) the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 states that the overall prevalence of violence against women will only start to decrease in the very long term as gender roles change, and
(x) the Fourth Action Plan recognises that demand for domestic and family violence services has increased, and will continue to increase; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to:
(i) recognise domestic violence against women as a national security crisis,
(ii) adequately fund frontline domestic, family and sexual violence and crisis housing services to ensure that all women seeking safety can access these services when and where they need them,
(iii) legislate for 10 days paid domestic and family violence leave so that women do not have to choose between paying the bills and seeking safety,
(iv) ensure that all government-funded counselling services for domestic and family violence are delivered by expert family violence service providers in accordance with the National Outcome Standards for Perpetrator Interventions,
(v) implement all 25 recommendations contained in the report of the Finance and Public Administration References Committee into violence against women, tabled in the Senate on 20 August 2015, and
(vi) maintain and publish an official real-time national toll of women killed by violence in Australia.
This is a serious issue and it has been stated previously by the government that violence against women and children is an issue this government is responding to with the largest ever investment, of $340 million, into the Fourth Action Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children. We have finalised the fourth action plan, recognising that the policy and funding to reduce family and domestic violence is a shared responsibility between the states, territories and, of course, the federal government. The Morrison government is absolutely committed to continuing the work with the community, the corporate sector, academia and across government to improve the safety of women and children.
Centre Alliance supports this motion, but I've asked for it to be split because we have concerns about paragraph (b)(iii). We absolutely support providing domestic violence leave to those who need it, but we are concerned that requiring small businesses to provide 10 days of paid leave could be a significant impost on those businesses which many would struggle to manage.
Leave is not granted. This is not an opportunity for debate. This happens a lot. It is not up to me to grant or not grant leave. What I'm going to do now is put the substantive motion without (b)(iii), because the motion can stand on its own without (b)(iii), and then we'll vote on whether to incorporate (b)(iii) as part of the final resolution.
But is there precedent for splitting subparagraphs of motions? I'm happy for you to consider it and deal with this today. It's just that we could end up in the situation of having a lot of division of motions if we go down that path.
I have always been advised—and I'm happy to be corrected by the Clerk now or later—that, as long as it makes sense and we don't have an incoherent motion where there are words missing or calls missing, we can put parts of a motion separately. The way I read this, Senator Patrick has asked to consider (b)(iii) separately, which may be a substantive issue, but the motion would still make sense without (b)(iii) in it. It just means that (b)(iv), b(v) and (b)(vi) would become (b)(iii), (b)(iv) and (b)(v). If I'm incorrect about that advice to the chamber, I will come back. The Clerk is happily nodding to me.
This motion has been put many a time for the last 12-odd months. I'll just flag for Senator Patrick's information: previously this motion has not needed to be voted upon and everyone has supported the very paragraph that you are seeking to take out, including Centre Alliance—
Senator Waters, please! This is not an opportunity for debate. In the past this motion has been voted on. There has not been a division, but it is not correct to assert the motion has not been voted on and a senator is asking for it to be voted on for the first time. That is incorrect. They get decided on the voices; they just don't go to a division. They have the same force of the Senate. This may or may not go to a division, but I think it is an unfair reflection on any senator who asks for a motion to be split to be making an assertion about what they may express. This is formal business where we don't debate. There are other opportunities for debate. I will respect the will of the Senate, which is that a senator is allowed to vote on a clause separately. My ruling here—and I will advise the chamber if I am wrong—is that (b)(iii) can be excised and voted on separately, because it does not affect the sense of the motion, even if it is a substantive issue. First, I will put the motion, absent clause (b)(iii). The effect of that would be that (b)(iv), (v) and (vi) become (b)(iii), (iv) and (v) if (b)(iii) is not supported. The question is that the motion, with (b)(iii) excised, be agreed to.
Question agreed to.
Now the question is to include (b)(iii) in the resolution.
Question agreed to.