National Domestic Violence Remembrance Day


Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN ( Stuart ) ( 12:46 :53 ): I rise to very genuinely and enthusiastically support the member for Reynell in her motion that this house (a) recognises National Domestic Violence Remembrance Day; (b) remembers those who have died and the ones left behind due to domestic and family violence; and (c), added today, commits to do whatever we can to prevent domestic violence.

This motion is extremely similar to a motion that I moved here a year ago, and I think that is very positive. As members would know, I have spoken on this topic many, many times in my five years in this house and it is a pleasure to be joined by the member for Reynell. I know everybody in this house is united in their view on this topic, but I think I have found a kindred spirit in the member for Reynell on this particular topic and wanting to take some leadership. Although our personal experiences are different, I do not doubt at all that our desire to show some leadership and contribute where we can to this topic is wholehearted on both our parts. I will be at Elder Park this afternoon as well.

Thank you, member for Reynell, also for advising the house about the Zahra Foundation dinner on 5 September. I think that is very important information for all members of this house to have. I would also like to comment that while it is of course terribly sad, it is also very pleasing that the issue of domestic violence is getting greater and greater recognition at all levels of government: federal, state and local.

There have certainly been people who have been working on this issue for many, many years, for decades, but probably not enough. However, the understanding of the importance of this issue is growing, and more important than the understanding of the issue is putting resources and effort to addressing it. I think that is a very important development, which is, unfortunately, necessary, but fortunately it is being addressed more than it was in previous years. I think that is terrific.

Unfortunately it is an undeniable fact that overwhelmingly it is men who commit violence against women when it comes to domestic violence, and that is absolutely shameful, but it is also just a fact, so we have to deal with it. We have to address it and we have to get on with it.

I am a very proud ambassador for the White Ribbon Foundation which is based on that knowledge—the knowledge that it is men who need to solve this problem. Because domestic violence is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men against women, it does not mean that all men are bad and all men do it. It is a small fraction of the male population who participate, and there is a strength in that, because then it is the overwhelming majority of men who do not participate who can actually use their influence on the small proportion of men who do participate.

A lot of other things have to be done, numerous other things, by both men and women as individuals, families, organisations, governments, etc., but it is men who have to take responsibility for the fact that on average one woman dies per week in Australia and, as the member for Reynell said, 25 women have died so far this year and 27 children on average die from domestic violence every year. They are unacceptable figures.

It is not like the road toll. People have to drive, people should take fewer risks, people should take more responsibility, but it is very hard for the mainstream public not to participate in the business that ends up in creating unfortunately a high road toll. It is completely different with domestic violence. No-one has to participate in the business of violence; it is just not necessary. We have, I think, a far greater opportunity for success in this area. We have a far greater opportunity to significantly reduce the number of victims of domestic violence across our nation and across our state. As the member for Reynell said, the ambition, the target, the goal, the outcome that we must all strive for is not one more.

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