Page 1325 - Week 04 - Thursday, 30 March 2017

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Mrs Kikkert that if the protections are found lacking or there are new concerns raised on these important issues, the Greens are open to supporting future amendments.

We know that domestic and family violence is a systematic and repeated act of power and control of a perpetrator over a victim. The victim will feel helpless and powerless as a result. A key aspect of her—or his, but normally her—recovery is being able to give her some sense of power back. This includes the ability for her to make decisions in regard to the protection orders for herself and any children or whatever actions she may wish to take. It is an important aspect of any response to a victim.

It is for these reasons that I do not support the amendments proposed by Mrs Kikkert. But, as I said, I am very appreciative of the motivations, and my office and I are happy to discuss further amendments in the future if the need for them occurs.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.24): Firstly, I would like to congratulate Mrs Kikkert on this very important pick-up of the problem in the legislation. I also condemn the government and the opposition for not recognising that this is an important hole in the legislation and for failing to do anything about it when it was pointed out to them.

Ms Le Couteur’s presentation here today was nothing short of patronising. She said that she really appreciated Mrs Kikkert’s point of view and then, towards the end, she went on to talk about how domestic violence is a systematic process of undermining people. She still failed to see that what needs to be done is what Mrs Kikkert has proposed. She then came back and said, “Well, after the horse has bolted, if we find that some child has been gravely disadvantaged or some child has died as a result of this government’s failure to close this gate then we will reconsider the matter.”

This is a shameful matter. Ms Le Couteur made some of the most astonishing admissions. She said that Mrs Kikkert was correct and then she did a complete and utter backflip. She actually said, “One can safely assume that people who turn up at court and ask for an order to be changed are acting of their own volition.” That is essentially what she said. But at the same time she talked about the coercive nature of the domestic violence relationship.

We in this place, the privileged people like me who have never experienced domestic violence, sometimes scratch our heads and say, “How can people put up with these things?” People put up with these things because they are coerced into a position where they cannot do anything else. Financially and socially, they do not want to admit that they live in an abusive relationship.

Quite frankly, we all know of circumstances where people are coerced financially, socially, sexually—in all sorts of ways—and there is no safeguard because this government will not take the advice of a junior opposition backbencher. It is too galling for them to realise that a newbie has made this pick-up. It is too galling for them to recognise that they have not got it perfectly right. We see it all the time. Every time we come in here with a motion on the subject they have to amend it. They have to make it their own. They have to put their own stamp on it because it cannot be something that comes from the Liberal opposition, no matter how correct we are.

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