Bill's Speeches

REMARKS AT WHITE RIBBON DAY BREAKFAST

REMARKS AT WHITE RIBBON DAY BREAKFAST


 


MURAL HALL, PARLIAMENT HOUSE


CANBERRA


 


TUESDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2014


 


***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***


 

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, and I pay my respects to their elders past and present.

Good morning everyone.

I thank the Prime Minister for his fine words, and I look forward to hearing Senator Milne’s contribution in a moment.

Thank you Andrew for your passion and your sincerity this morning.

And I’d like to thank the RAAF for the flyover, providing us all with what must be the largest, fastest-moving White Ribbon ever seen.

This morning, I’d like to tell to you about Jane.

Along with hundreds of thousands of Australian women, Jane endured family violence.

For Jane, it was a twelve-year journey: ‘to hell and back’.

Alcohol-fuelled assaults, constant verbal abuse, ever-present anxiety and fear - both for her own life and for the safety of her children.

And on a website where those who have overcome family violence can share their stories, Jane posted a poem that she said helped her through her darkest days:

Too many ‘ifs’, too many ‘whens’
Too many ‘sorrys’ and ‘never agains’
Too many promises, too many lies
Far too many ‘one more tries’
How many were there,
Before I knew
That actions speak louder
Than promises do?


Friends – today, White Ribbon Day, we have to offer more than promises.

We have to show, by our actions, that we are determined to end family violence – forever.

Every number we know about family violence is shameful.

And so are the numbers that we don’t know.

The injuries that go unreported.

The women with disability unable to ask for help.

The intervention orders that are never sought.

The nights when accommodation can’t be found.

The memories seared, right now into children’s minds as they witness acts of violence.

The bruises hidden by scarves and long sleeves.

That is why today has always been about more than wearing a ribbon.

It’s about driving permanent, meaningful change.

A change in our national culture, change in our national attitude.

As long as family violence affects any one of us – it affects all of us.

And defeating family violence is a job for all of us, especially the men of Australia.

Every Australian man has to become an advocate, and set an example.

Every Australian man has to find the courage to call out sexism, degrading language and hateful attitudes.

Every Australian man has to show the character to tell his peers, his neighbours, his teammates, his colleagues and his extended family, tell them that there is no defence, no tolerance for violence against women.

No more turning up the TV to drown out the yelling from the neighbours next door.

No more averting our gaze from unexplained black eyes and bruises.

No more morning-after apologies, no more well-worn excuses.

It’s time for every Australian man to face up to our responsibilities – in our Parliament, in our homes, in our communities, in our nation.

Because there is no acceptable rate of family violence.

And we will not solve this problem without the equal treatment of women in our society.

That’s what we need to commit ourselves to – equality for women in every aspect of our national life.

That’s how we stop family violence – today, tomorrow and forever.

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