Page 541 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 15 February 2017

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stand by racists, do not attempt to hide behind the respect that our nation owes veterans … I hope the national and state bodies of the RSL address this filth as a matter of urgency.

Mr Assistant Speaker, through you to members, Ms Cody has used false claims about an organisation that is not part of the RSL to allege racism and claim that the RSL has a long history of disgraceful behaviour. This has prompted the President of the ACT Branch of the RSL to make the following statement:

It is this type of unfounded criticism of a national body, spoken in generalisations, which has completed over 100 years of assisting the veteran family and community that makes the veterans very angry.

Ms Cody’s comments are not only disrespectful and false but do little to support many of those veterans suffering as a result of their service who expect support from their elected officials, not vile attacks like this. I note that she continues to smile and laugh at my speech, with more disrespect. Ms Cody’s bullying hate speech should be condemned by the Chief Minister. He should apologise on her behalf to the Sussex Inlet club, to the RSL nationally, to the RSL in New South Wales and here in the ACT. 

I am a returned serviceman. I am a proud member of the RSL and I have seen firsthand the great work that that organisation does and has done for 100 years. I commend the RSL for its great work. I condemn Ms Cody for her spiteful, unjustified and false and hurtful attack on the RSL and on its members.

Domestic and family violence

MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (6.24): Since I gave my inaugural speech in this chamber last year I have been contacted by a number of community members, mostly men, who have pointed out to me that domestic and family violence affects men as well as women. I have seen that point made before, as if the rights of the woman are in competition with the rights of the man. I do not agree.

I do not agree that the rights of men and women in the family are in competition. I do agree that many men are subject to domestic violence, and this is a minority that should not be ignored. Many men do not report domestic violence. Many men do not know where to turn. Men seeking help are often subject to humiliation. Male victims of domestic violence suffer the same feelings of powerlessness and the same manipulation of their self-esteem. For male victims, however, there is often an extra humiliation, and extra abuse, and that is the abuse of community expectations.

Domestic violence is far more than experience of assault. It starts with controlling behaviours and emotional abuse. Men are expected to be bigger, stronger and more powerful. Often they are. But no amount of muscle changes the reality of relentless, continuous humiliation, abuse, manipulation and shaming, especially when that shaming is reinforced by community expectations.

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