Page 469 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 16 February 2005

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I would like to say as well, Mr Speaker, that violence against women remains prevalent in our community. It can be seen in the recent violent attacks against women that have been reported in the past few weeks. Yesterday’s Canberra Times reported on the abduction of a 21-year-old woman while she was walking home from the Campbelltown railway station in Sydney. The woman was threatened with a machete, driven to a remote location and raped before ringing her fiancé to detail a ransom. Another article on page 4 of yesterday’s Canberra Times detailed the abduction of a 50-year-old woman who was found in the boot of her car four days after she went missing. Her husband, whom she had taken a restraining order out on, has been identified as a suspect. He is a suspect but, obviously, he is not necessarily the person who has done it, but it highlights the incidence.

These violent acts occur daily across Australia and the world and will stop only through the cooperation and combined efforts of the entire world community. The up-coming International Women’s Day, to be held on 8 March, provides the international community with another opportunity to celebrate the economic, political, environmental and social achievements of women. Since its inception, International Women’s Day has stood for equality between men and women. I will repeat that: it has stood for equality between men and women. It is not about making women more than men or highlighting them more than men; it is about saying that women have equal rights to men.

I ask members to remember this horrifying figure: one in three—one in three—women will experience some form of violence during their lifetime, simply because they are women. This is completely unacceptable. I will end with a quote from the UNIFEM executive director, Noeleen Heyzer, who said:

We need to say “no more and never again”. If we commit ourselves to creating a world free from violence against women and girls, our children will say we stopped the universal and unpunished crime of all time against half the people of the earth.

I commend the motion.

Motion agreed to.

Sub judice convention

Statement by Speaker

MR SPEAKER: Before we go to private members business item No 4, I will make a statement in relation to the application of the sub judice convention, as that matter relates in some way to matters before the courts. The convention, as described in the fourth edition of House of Representatives Practice is:

… subject to the right of the House to legislate on any matter, matters awaiting adjudication in a court of law should not be brought forward in debate, motions or questions.

Members will be aware that there is a coronial inquiry into the cause of deaths of four persons in the January 2003 bushfires. Members are also aware that the government and

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