Parliamentary Friends United Against Domestic and Family Violence | SPEECH


Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN ( Stuart ) ( 15:38 :19 ): I rise today to inform the house of the very successful launch of Parliamentary Friends United against Domestic and Family Violence, which occurred on the last sitting day of parliament, Thursday 10 September. This was a new group launched very cooperatively and jointly by myself and the member for Reynell, who I will return to in just a moment.

It was a very successful launch. I thank those members of parliament who attended, and I thank all members who have subsequently signed the document we sent around for those people who just were not able to get there on the day. I particularly thank the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition for their attendance and for speaking at the event, as well as those community members who I know are deeply engaged in this topic. Parliamentary Friends United against Domestic and Family Violence aims to:

keep the serious issue of domestic violence at the forefront of the South Australian political agenda for all parties;

educate parliamentarians and other community members about the causes of domestic violence, including the gendered nature of violence;

educate parliamentarians on the different and not always visible forms that domestic violence may take, including emotional, financial and psychological violence;

foster bipartisan input into and support for initiatives and policies developed to prevent domestic violence;

publicly demonstrate political unity in tackling domestic violence; and

engage with and support organisations working to prevent domestic violence and support those experiencing it.

The group will:

bring parliamentarians together to explore the issues surrounding domestic violence in a way that promotes and furthers its aims;

organise speakers of note to assist in fulfilling the organisation’s objectives; and

support organisations that work at the coalface of domestic violence prevention and support and bring them together with parliamentarians.

I wholeheartedly thank those members who have signed their support for this group and who I know will work collaboratively with us in this work. I would also like to pay tribute to the member for Reynell, Katrine Hildyard, who is deeply committed to this issue as I am.

We come to this work from different places, different parts of the state, different personal backgrounds and no doubt different strengths and capacities that we can contribute to the topic as well, and that is as it should be—if we were both exactly the same we would not achieve as much. I look forward to working with her in this effort and I thank her for joining with me to do this.

I also pay recognition to some organisations in my electorate, and, while it is not possible to mention all of them, I will focus on those working in Port Augusta, which is the largest centre in the electorate of Stuart. The key groups working incredibly diligently against domestic violence are the Port Augusta Homeless and Violence Against Communities Collaboration, the Victim Support Service and the Family Violence Legal Services Aboriginal Corporation (Port Augusta office).

Now, those groups are also ably supported by Women’s Wellness House, SAPOL Domestic Violence Unit, Centacare, Family Relationships Centre, Housing SA, Aboriginal Families Support Service, Red Cross, UnitingCare Wesley and the Salvation Army. No doubt there are others both at an organisational or agency level or even at an individual or personal level that are working very hard in Port Augusta and other parts of my electorate on this issue.

This is an issue that belongs to everybody. There is nobody in our state, or unfortunately our nation, who is not affected by domestic violence in one way or another, so everybody has a responsibility to contribute to just stop the fact that one woman a week on average over a 12-month period will die from domestic violence. That is not the women who will be injured or harmed in one way or another—women who actually die, one a week, which is completely unacceptable; and then you add to that all of the other women who have suffered in one way or another and children as well.

Let me just finish by saying that, while every single person has to take a responsibility in stopping this cursed activity, it is overwhelmingly men who perpetrate domestic violence. Most men do not but it is overwhelmingly men who do perpetrate domestic violence, and so it is overwhelmingly men’s responsibility to stamp it out.