Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 3 August 2017) . . Page.. 2501 ..
meant to inform the government’s development of its domestic violence hub. A number of issues raised in this report also speak to how we should support single parents. First, although most single parents are women, not all are. We must be careful, therefore, not to isolate single fathers by relying on a gendered approach.
Second, those who have experienced intergenerational trauma are often afraid to ask for help. We need to carefully design our responses so that we make it as safe and as comfortable as possible for such people to seek the help that they need. Third, we must be sensitive to a variety of cultural values. As the report notes, traditional domestic violence responses are typically geared towards perpetrators leaving and therefore often do not suit those who have a strong cultural drive to keep their families together. The breakdown of a two-parent family is likewise experienced differently by different people, depending on a number of factors, including culture, and we must be careful not to impose a one-size-fits-all approach.
The question remains: who should be providing this support? Without a doubt the ACT government must play a role. At the same time, various community organisations, churches, mosques, temples, clubs and associations have an enormous role to play. When such groups are there for each other and take care of each other, this is often all the support that some single parents will need. We also have roles to play as individuals. We should be involved in our communities and know our neighbours. One of the most important ways we can support single parents in our community is to be each other’s friends. In this way we can help to provide the emotional support that single parent families may need. We can listen. We can offer help to kids. We can take an interest in the children’s schooling, sport and other activities. In short, we all need to be there for each other. I hope Canberra can be a city that takes care of its single parents.
MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Women and Minister for Sport and Recreation) (3.49): I thank Mr Steel for bringing this matter of public importance to the chamber today. It is a very important discussion. I acknowledge the challenges of single parents—including Mrs Kikkert’s family and Caroline Le Couteur and me as single parents. But it is less about us and more about the people in our community that we are here to represent.
There is no doubt that it is tough for single parent families. The biggest issue facing them is financial stress. I think Ms Le Couteur was at the same rally I was at, not long after I was elected to this place, when the federal Labor government cut the single-parenting payment. The effect that had on single-parent families across the country was extraordinary and continues to be the case. It meant that parenting payments were cut by up to $110 a week. When you are living on nothing and your payments are cut by $110 a week, there is not much left for your family to get by on.
After that process, and when a new government was elected, it was acknowledged by a member of the federal Labor Party at the time that that was not the right decision to make and that it had a detrimental effect on single parents all across the country. The