LAUNCH OF PARLIAMENTARIANS AGAINST FAMILY VIOLENCE
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
MONDAY, 20 OCTOBER 2014
*** CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY ***
I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, and pay my respects to their elders past and present.
I acknowledge Vice Admiral Ray Griggs – and I thank you for being here.
I have the honour to say a few words this evening in support of this cause – but I want to begin by saying to everyone here, your presence speaks volumes.
It shows how seriously we take this issue.
The crowd in this room is a statement in itself – a message that family violence can and must be stopped.
And I want to congratulate and thank my parliamentary colleagues: Tim Watts, Ken Wyatt and Andrew Broad for the hard work they have done to make today happen.
Family violence bridges the political divide – and tonight we renew our commitment to a bipartisan search for a solution.
Family violence is no respecter of your religion, your postcode or your ethnicity.
And right now, the biggest risk factor for becoming a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence or family violence is being a woman.
Yet for far too long family violence has been seen as a niche issue, something beyond the realm of public debate, something best not spoken about.
That is changing, but it has to change further.
The word leadership gets used a lot in this place – but we need real leadership on this issue.
We need leadership from all spheres of national life – community, sport, business, politics – to reject violence, to change attitudes.
Family violence affects more than a quarter of a million women – but it is not just a women’s issue.
Family violence takes up 40 per cent of police work – but it is not just a police issue.
Family violence is the cause of a third of all homelessness – but it is not just a social justice issue.
The statistics are shocking, they are shameful and they traverse the length and breadth of our nation.
But no figure, no number can capture the uncertain fear, the intermittent anxiety leading to moments of terror, the wrenching emotional and physical pain that family violence inflicts.
Bringing this scourge into the open…finding a way to stop it…depends on us making family violence a political issue and putting it at the heart of our political debate.
Putting family violence at the centre of our political discussion, facing Australia up to what needs to be done is the first step.
The police cannot arrest their way out of this issue.
It is not a women’s issue – because the perpetrators are men.
Increased media coverage has helped this debate.
Increased media means that women know they are not alone when they face family violence and that help is out there.
I’d like to thank the media outlets that have given this issue particular attention, and encourage them to continue their good work.
We need them with us.
We need to use every resource at our disposal.
Because there have been too many vigils, too many funerals.
Too many childhoods scarred, too many homes divided, too many memories which remain with people the whole of their lives.
Tonight, our Parliament sends a message that enough is enough.
We declare that stopping family violence is a job that belongs to us all – and we declare that we will not rest until that job is done.
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