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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 March 2021) . . Page.. 751 ..


support services and the many, many organisations that Ms Davidson mentioned and thanked. Of course they can, and rightly should. But a royal commission, properly funded and with a genuine and not token terms of reference, will have the powers and the scope to amplify this work and deliver real change—to save lives.

In her campaign, Julie-Ann has not been alone. Her voice has been joined by hundreds and thousands of voices—voices who have never spoken before; voices from some who have never before felt comfortable doing so despite privately sharing their view; voices who know that they might be drawing ire but now speak up because it is people like Julie-Ann who have created the space for them and because it is the right thing to do; voices from unlikely corners; voices from across the political spectrum and now from both houses of parliament, calling for a royal commission, nothing less.

It is an all too common theme of this year that we, all of these voices united, are asking the federal government to do just two simple things: to listen and to act on what it hears. Listen to the hundreds of thousands of voices calling for a royal commission. Listen to the majority of members in its own parliament. And, by doing so, do better for and by our veterans.

I cannot speak today without touching on some of the appalling, deeply unfair, unfounded and, frankly, odious comments that have been directed towards Ms Finney, in the last few days in particular. Women are sick of being belittled by men in suits. Julie-Ann is a woman and a proud mother who is sick of being belittled by men in suits. Just the other day the RSL president said that Julie-Ann had done immense damage to the cause. That is absolute nonsense—and wrong. Rather than causing damage, Julie-Ann has brought a national spotlight to the cause. She has given people courage. People are caring who might never have understood what an incredible national tragedy this is without her work. People are listening. That the Prime Minister has even started to listen is because of her.

The RSL president unfathomably commented that Julie-Ann’s campaign is to assuage her guilt about Dave’s death. How dare he? This is about achieving accountability for her son, a mother achieving accountability for her son. And it is not just Julie-Ann. There are mothers across the country wanting accountability for their children. There are people across the country wanting accountability for their brothers and sisters, for their friends, for their colleagues. Yet men—and it has been men—are using their platforms to try to undermine a woman, to somehow describe her campaign as less because she is a mother. That is beyond the pale. I challenge them to speak to her and with her. I hope that perhaps after today Mr Hanson might speak with Julie-Ann too, and I am happy to help arrange that.

I know and understand why some people might be attracted to the idea of a national commission, but they need to actually read what is proposed. I do not support Mr Hanson’s amendments, even though I understand the intention. I do not think that there has been a barney on the hill. Two houses of parliament have agreed that there should be a royal commission. The point of having a royal commission now is to deal with the issues we already know about. We know what they are.


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