Senate debates

Tuesday, 2 August 2022


Domestic and Family Violence

1:40 pm

Photo of Jess WalshJess Walsh (Victoria, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The Albanese Labor government has introduced legislation to deliver 10-days paid family and domestic violence leave for all Australian workers. This landmark legislation started with strong union women standing up and speaking out in their workplaces for safety and security. Through their action and with the election of the Albanese Labor government, we will now see this entitlement extended to all Australian workers who need it.

One of these pioneering union women was Sharon, an Australian Services Union delegate from the Surf Coast shire in Victoria. Sharon was in an abusive relationship when her EBA negotiations started in 2010. She fought to include paid leave for workers going through similar situations. Standing together, these ASU members became the first in the country to have paid family and domestic violence leave. This win set off a national campaign which has run for over a decade, culminating in the legislation that we introduced.

Last month I spoke with Kristy, an ASU member from the City of Greater Geelong Council. Through her ASU agreement she has access to domestic violence leave already. Kristy was able to use it when facing domestic violence at the hands of her ex-husband. Years later, Kristy is still going through the court system to keep herself and her children safe. She told me that this leave meant she had time to reorganise her life, to keep her job and her house and to keep her children safe and secure. Kristy told me: 'Now I want everyone to have access to it.' And because of the tireless campaigning of women like Sharon and Kristy in their unions across the country, they will.