Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 2 December 2021) . . Page.. 4051 ..
MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (11.37): Escaping a violent relationship takes time and it takes money. Everyone should be able to live their lives free from violence and the fear of violence. National data shows that women who report domestic violence are three times more likely to receive less than 40 per cent of the property value in settlements and that the average cost of family law proceedings is over $6,000, or one month’s wages for the average Australian woman.
Our workplaces play a fundamental role in our lives and should be set up in a way that means that everybody is provided with the protections necessary to allow for safety and security in the other parts of our lives. Domestic and family violence leave provides workers with the security of employment while navigating dangerous and extremely emotionally and financially difficult situations.
The We Won’t Wait campaign run by the Australian Council of Trade Unions is advocating for a commitment from the federal government to instate 10 days of domestic and family violence leave to the national employment standards. The national employment standards set out the basic conditions that every worker in Australia must be employed under. They create a safety net for all workers.
The ACT Greens stand with the ACTU in their call for domestic and family violence leave to be included in the standards. To quote ACTU President Michelle O’Neil:
Family and domestic violence is a national crisis. We know the tragic numbers: on average, a woman is killed each week by a partner, ex-partner or family member in Australia. Hundreds of thousands report facing violence at home— figures that have surged during the pandemic, as many women—and it nearly always is women—were trapped further into abusive relationships. Workplaces have a key role to play in supporting a woman facing family and domestic violence. Paid leave can help a woman leave. It gives her the time and financial security to take steps to secure her safety.
As the ACT Greens spokesperson for domestic and family violence, I am proud to support this jointly sponsored motion by Minister Berry. Through this motion, we are joining with our colleagues in government to call on the federal government to give every worker the protection of knowing that their job is secure, even if the rest of their life is extremely difficult.
Here in the ACT our progressive government has already brought in 20 days of paid domestic and family violence leave to all our employees. This was a recognition of the significant burden of violence on the lives of workers and the role of the workplace in supporting workers inside and outside the workplace. We have done our bit; now it is time for the federal government to do theirs.
We know that domestic violence is a highly gendered issue, with women being three times more likely to experience violence. As I have spoken about in this chamber before, we know that other marginalised people and other gender minorities are at an even greater risk of experiencing violence within their homes and their relationships. Those living with financial stress are more likely to experience violence and are less likely to be able to leave these situations.