Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 August 2015) . . Page.. 2287 ..

Many of the council’s recommendations have been directly referenced, addressed and progressed in the second implementation plan, and many of the issues identified by the Domestic Violence Prevention Council will require detailed conversations in a range of fora, and meaningful progress will take further time and a sustained effort. The government remains committed to this effort and we understand that long-term responses must be developed alongside the existing crisis responses.

I have also previously announced significant reforms, with the first stage of reform anticipated in the middle of next year. I announced these reforms ahead of the Domestic Violence Prevention Council extraordinary meeting. Some of these reforms will be based on the ACT’s response to the joint Australian Law Reform Commission and New South Wales Law Reform Commission report, Family Violence—A National Legal Response—Report 114. The ALRC report included 131 recommendations that relate specifically to states and territories, and they cover education, training, additional support for people who have lived experience of domestic and family violence, including sexual assault, as well as specialisation in courts for domestic and family violence.

I agree that the establishment of a dedicated Family Violence Court magistrate requires careful consideration, and it requires bringing the judiciary with us in relation to those discussions. This consideration is already being undertaken by the government in consultation with key stakeholders, and my amendments to the motion today will allow those conversations to continue as we take a step forward. Part of the government’s response to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s reforms will include consideration of ways that the current Family Violence Court operates and what reforms can be progressed to strengthen its operation. Further consultation on these reforms will also allow a considered and practical approach to meet the needs of different stakeholders, including the judiciary.

I recall meeting the Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty, earlier this year. I had a great opportunity to sit down and speak with her about her heartrending experience of family violence but also to talk to her about her perspectives on it. What was compelling from my conversation with her is that whilst we can focus very much on a range of technical and legal and service delivery responses, all of which are very, very important, she also makes the compelling point that, at the end of the day, family violence is a gender issue. Family violence is about a power and balance and about the way too many men view women.

She stated very clearly that to address these issues going forward we must have in the forefront of our minds not just the legal policy, not just the service delivery considerations but also a recognition of the gender issues at play and the importance of continuing to recognise that issue in engaging with this very difficult issue. Those are points well worth keeping in mind.

I thank Mr Hanson for bringing this motion forward today. I reiterate the government’s commitment to taking a considered, evidence-based approach to this important and complex issue to ensure we get the best possible results. I commend my amendments to the Assembly.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video