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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 March 2015) . . Page.. 798 ..

of whether it is for Liberal or Labor, let us make sure that we put it where it is due. And if there is work to be done and mistakes being made, let us identify those and make sure that it is not about trying to apportion blame but about trying to identify where more work needs to be done. I think that we have done that in this place today, and I look forward to that continuing.

Ms Lawder, thank you for your contribution. I reiterate the words that you said last night, which were very moving and very important. As someone who has come to this place from the community sector, particularly having been involved with the disability sector and with housing, you have a great understanding of the frontline impact of domestic violence. And the point you made about cultural change is entirely relevant.

Ms Burch, I know, has been working in this area in other roles but is now working as minister for police. There is no doubt that the police in our city are at the forefront. They are often charged with intervening in very difficult circumstances. I know that it is a priority for the police, and we want to make sure that that continues. I thank Ms Burch for her comments and the point she made about this being an issue for perpetrators. Ultimately, that is where the change must occur. The conversation is about victims and the support that we can provide, but the change will come from the perpetrators.

Although Mr Gentleman has not spoken specifically to this motion, I know that the subject has been something that he has continually talked about. He and I have made that White Ribbon pledge: “I swear never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women. This is my oath.” That is something that is entirely relevant to this debate.

Ms Berry has highlighted the complexities for women who face domestic violence. It is very difficult when someone that you are married to, someone you love, someone that might be the father of your children is the person that is inflicting the domestic violence. It is an incredibly difficult and complex issue for those confronted by domestic violence. Recognising that is a very important point—and recognising that prevention must be a whole-of-community response, particularly focused on those who are disadvantaged, be it through being Indigenous, being a refugee, having English as second language or being disabled.

I thank Mr Barr for his contribution. He is right to recognise that this requires a whole-of-government and a whole-of-community response. This is not simply the responsibility of a single minister, a single individual; this is a shared responsibility in the community. Given that we collectively represent the vast majority of the people in the community that wanted us in this place to take a strong stance on issues like this, it is important that we have combined to do that.

Ms Fitzharris, I am glad that you have finally seen a debate in this place, that you can see we can transcend the political battle. The political battles that we have are important. We cannot shy away from that; there is a contest of ideas that must continue. But there is no doubt that in many ways we are at our best when we can put those battles aside and focus solely on what is best for the community—in this case, those who are suffering from domestic violence.

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