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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 2 December 2021) . . Page.. 4055 ..


Offering paid leave can support survivors in practical ways to keep their job, while dealing with the time it takes to deal with legal and child protection systems, reorganise finances and make sure they have a safe place to live. In the words of Rachel, a survivor of domestic and family violence, “Really hearing, as opposed to simply listening, means there is a direct show of action after having heard the story that demonstrates they have been heard.” Women have said that what they need is to be heard and understood and supported as they recreate safety in their lives and the lives of their children. This is one of a number of direct actions we can take in response to what we have heard from people experiencing domestic violence, of which the majority are women.

As Mr Davis said, paid leave is something that all employers can, and should, do to support people experiencing violence and to acknowledge that this is an issue for all our community to respond to.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.51): I would really like to add my support for this motion. I am proud to be a part of a Labor government that, in 2013, introduced 20 days of paid leave for domestic and family violence. I know that many other state and territory governments have introduced similar measures, as have many employers in the private sector.

Domestic violence affects everyone from all walks of life. It is not a problem that is isolated to women, nor is it a problem that women must fix. Instead, we need real action and accountability at all levels of government and in all workplaces. We need the problem to be recognised by the federal government and included in the national employment standards.

The national employment standards make up the minimum employment entitlements for all workers in Australia. They include things like the minimum wage, flexible work requests and other leave entitlements. To not have paid domestic and family violence leave as a minimum entitlement is a disgrace and it seems like, as is the case with so many other things, that is simply too hard for Mr Morrison and his government. If it is not about protecting their own interests, then they simply do not care.

The motion notes—and this is a very important point to recognise—that dealing with, and leaving, violent relationships takes time. It also takes support and resources which are not available to everyone. We need to make sure that everyone—whoever and wherever they are in this country—is supported to leave a violent relationship. That is why we have these entitlements in the ACT government, and I urge the federal government to also recognise this as a problem and take every appropriate action.

I would be happy to add my support, as the Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, to the letter, to my federal counterpart. I commend the motion to the Assembly.


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