Page 796 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Beyond arguing for the federal government to restore support service funding to previous levels, if not increased levels, the ACT will advocate for a framework so that domestic violence orders can operate nationally. The territory government strongly supports improving collaboration and information sharing between court processes and developing a national domestic violence order scheme to ensure better protection for women who move interstate—and many are compelled to do so in order to get away from a perpetrator or a situation.
The government will also advocate for, and do its part to develop and implement, national outcome standards for perpetrator interventions. These standards will provide a consistent set of standards applicable across all jurisdictions and focus on improving the outcomes of perpetrator interventions. The purpose of such interventions is to directly improve the safety of women and children by stopping a perpetrator’s violent behaviour.
Consistent outcome standards will send a strong signal that violence against women will not be tolerated anywhere in Australia and that perpetrators will be held to account. When COAG meets to discuss these and other measures, I will be urging my first minister colleagues that we can and must do more.
Here in the ACT we are doing more than just talking, although I acknowledge that raising this issue and having it debated in the Assembly two days in a row is important. Every member of this government and every member of this Assembly is acting to reduce this scourge on our community. I commend the amendments and indeed the Leader of the Opposition for raising this issue today, and thank the Assembly for its mature consideration of this very important issue.
MS FITZHARRIS (Molonglo) (11.13): I also rise today to thank the Leader of the Opposition for this motion, and the Attorney-General for his amendments.
It is indeed sad to stand here this week and discuss this issue of family and domestic violence. When I was first elected to the Assembly on 16 January and spoke to a number of media outlets on the day, they asked me what issues I was interested in, and I said that family violence was one that I had a longstanding interest in. I did not foresee the experiences that members of our own community have gone through, with the tragic death of at least one woman, possibly two, in our own community just in the last couple of weeks. I hoped in a strange way that Rosie Batty would be successful, and nominated as the Australian of the year, and she was. As Mr Rattenbury said, it is not an issue that we would want to be standing here talking about, but, as we are, I am so pleased that this chamber has come together in the way it has over the last couple of days.
Since I have been here, for the last two months, I have had a lot of questions asked of me about what it is like in the chamber. I know that friends of mine and people in the community reading the newspaper might often think that there is not much agreement between all sides of politics in the chamber. I am so very pleased, and I so very much hope it is reported, that this is one issue that has captured the hearts and the minds of everyone in this chamber, and I hope that it leads to action.