PMB - Family Violence

Private Members' Business - Speech on Family Violence.

I rise to add my voice this morning to the calls from this place around the notions that family and domestic violence is preventable and that it's up to legislators to ensure that we get these things right. I'm proudly a member of the Albanese Labor government, where Minister Rishworth has announced that our intention is to make a difference in a generation. I am reminded, when I think about it, of some of the work that happened in the state of Victoria.

Luke Batty lost his life in February 2014, and it's fair to say it shook the country. We've had data since then of the number of women murdered annually, but, if we go back to 2014, we see it was a pivotal year in my state of Victoria, the state the member for Goldstein also represents, where Minister Fiona Richardson came to the fore as the first Minister for Prevention of Family Violence in Australia, with the first royal commission and with the first mention of measuring the toll: the Family Violence Index. It was a breakthrough moment—one that many people around this country probably saw as just another day in politics. It wasn't just another day in politics. It changed the way we view family and domestic violence. It changed the way we talk about it, but it also changed people's understanding. One of the bottom-line things that came through that royal commission was the notion that the cause of family and domestic violence was a lack of gender equity, and that is undeniable. If we had gender equity, we could drive these terrible figures down.

So I want to pay tribute today to my friend Fiona Richardson—who, of course, has now left us—for her work for the royal commission that happened in Victoria and has driven so much of the work around the country, and for driving home that notion that we measure what we care about and that, when we measure things, things change. We measured the economy, CPI and all sorts of other things because we think they're important. The notions around family and domestic violence, the measurement of it and how that will impact us are at work here in this place. As my colleague mentioned, the family and domestic violence leave legislation, which provides 10 days of leave, will help us to measure the incidence of family and domestic violence. As I've said in this place countless times—not to be too cynical—when there's an economic cost to it, suddenly the world will pay attention. Suddenly it won't be about bruises; it will be about money. Sadly, I think, that will see more action.

So it is very important that, nearly 10 years ago, Fiona Richardson led change in the state of Victoria. That change is proudly picked up here in this place, the federal parliament, by Minister Rishworth and Minister Gallagher in their roles in the Labor government. I look forward to those changes coming in for us to be measuring the things that we are now going to be measuring so that we can set the baselines and make sure that we're driving those things backwards rather than forwards.

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