Page 542 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 15 February 2017

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Sometimes when men speak of their experience with domestic violence and our responses to it the bitterness of their words comes through louder than they intend. If we hear that bitterness and assume it is the bitterness of a perpetrator who refuses to acknowledge their wrongdoing, we are being unfair. Often that bitterness is directed at a community that has compounded the humiliation of a victim by denying his legitimacy, by treating the victim as a criminal and refusing to allow him out of the cycle of violence.

Those who paint domestic and family violence as solely the actions of men against women damage men, women and families. For those of us who wish to take action to end domestic violence, who want to change cultures, we must ensure we are solving this problem for men as well as women.

I have said we should never walk past domestic violence, turning a blind eye. That includes men, that includes women, that includes those of all gender identities. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. We need to keep listening and ensure that our responses to domestic violence are inclusive and deliver fairness and support to everyone. We do not have all the answers. But I have got the will to solve it, and I encourage all victims to keep coming forward. Together, we can end domestic and family violence.

Refugee rally

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (6.28): On Saturday, 4 February I attended a rally for refugees. It was calling for asylum seekers held on Manus Island and Nauru to be brought to Australia. The Canberra rally was one of several protests being held across the country, with a similar one taking part in Sydney. Leading the group were Adam Richards and his 13-year-old son Ned. Adam and Ned recently completed a walk from Adelaide to Canberra to raise awareness for asylum seekers held in offshore processing.

The idea for the walk to Canberra started when young Ned became curious about the horrific news reports last year of two refugees setting themselves alight on Nauru and one of them subsequently dying. Ned wanted to know what he could do to prevent similar tragedies. The father and son walked for 38 days, covering more than 30 kilometres a day, which is a pretty impressive effort, to petition the federal government to end mandatory indefinite offshore detention of refugees and instead bring them to Australia for their claims to be processed.

The Greens have long advocated for the closure of these detention camps. We believe that Australia’s cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity should be celebrated for greatly enriching our society and economy. This diversity is only enhanced by the immigration of people most in need to Australia.

The Greens also believe that Australia must enact its humanitarian and legal obligations to asylum seekers and refugees. These obligations include granting refugees protection and reuniting families under the international customary law and the Refugee Convention 1951 and its protocol.

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