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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 30 March 2017) . . Page.. 1328 ..

Ayes 9

Noes 11

Mr Doszpot

Mr Milligan

Mr Barr

Ms Le Couteur

Mrs Dunne

Mr Parton

Ms Berry

Ms Orr

Mr Hanson

Mr Wall

Ms Burch

Mr Pettersson

Mrs Jones

Ms Cheyne

Mr Ramsay

Mrs Kikkert

Ms Cody

Mr Steel

Ms Lee

Mr Gentleman

Question resolved in the negative.

Amendments negatived.

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (11.39), by leave: I have just a few words to say. In short, I am disappointed. Today we had an opportunity to take a step that would better protect children from the cycle of family and domestic violence, and we did not take it. Today we had an opportunity to let officers of the court fulfil their roles to protect children, and we did not take it. I appreciate that those opposite have validated the concerns that I have raised today and have pledged to pursue them. I am glad for that, and I want the government to understand that I will hold them to account on this matter forever.

As I have discussed before, I know personally what it is like to grow up in a home plagued by domestic violence. I am familiar with the whole cycle: the angry words and beatings, followed by the accepted apologies and temporary reconciliation only to start all over again, and then again. I know from personal experience that most of the time children in these situations have no voice. Today I have tried to advocate for those voiceless children, and I will continue to do so by closely monitoring the impacts of this legislation.

Here is a little poem:

Do you hear the children weeping, O my brothers,

Ere the sorrow comes with years? …

They are weeping in the playtime of the others,

In the country of the free.

In the country of the free, Madam Assistant Speaker. To a child in the midst of domestic violence, it is not a free country. This is not a free nation when you have compelled judges to make choices that they may, in effect, disagree with. It is not a free nation when the innocence of children’s lives is at risk because you have not protected them by the written law. Without the written law to protect children, innocence is betrayed. To use this politically for selfish purposes is foolish, frightful and irresponsible. You have just allowed innocent children to be victims of domestic violence, and shame on each one of you.

Remainder of bill, as a whole, agreed to.

Bill agreed to.

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