Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2014
May is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and once again we are seeing great initiatives in my electorate of Blair in South-East Queensland. As a White Ribbon ambassador and a father of two daughters, I am very keen to make sure that we eradicate domestic violence and violence against women in this country.
Last Thursday night I joined the Ipswich Women's Centre Against Domestic Violence and members of the Ipswich community in the annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event for the third consecutive year. I spoke at the rally afterwards. Created in California in the US by Frank Baird in 2001, the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event is based on the old saying, 'You can never really understand another's experience until you've walked a mile in their shoes.' So it is an event which encourages men to do the right thing. I marched with my traditional Ipswich 'Say no to domestic violence' T-shirt and in my RM Williams boots. I did not join the Ipswich Jets Rugby League team and Councillor Andrew Antoniolli wearing red stilettos, but I did march with Senator Claire Moore, the shadow minister for women, and the Labor candidate for Ipswich, Jennifer Howard.
Sadly, in this country one woman dies every week as a result of domestic violence. We should have conversations around the lounge rooms and kitchens about how we treat women and how we talk of them in workplaces, around the barbecue and on football fields and in clubs. We cannot brush this issue under the carpet.
Another great event which is happening in my electorate as we speak today, right now, is the Ipswich Housing and Support Services initiative of a Domestic and Family Violence Tenancy Session, of which I am a proud sponsor. The Ipswich Housing and Support Services contribution to Domestic Violence Awareness Month is centred on the issue of the rights of tenants and the options available to them when domestic and family violence occur in a private rental.
Sadly, as shadow minister for Indigenous affairs, I have to look through the press releases of the Minister for Indigenous Affairs and, as I did so this week, I looked at the budget that was handed down. I looked at the new streamlining of funding in relation to individual programs and, sadly, even in the new streamlined cuts of $534 million to Indigenous affairs, there was no mention of continued support for the programs run in relation to violence against women and children. Indeed, Antoinette Braybrook, the national convener of the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service, condemns the government for their comments and says:
Where is the commitment to keep Aboriginal women and children safe? Where is the commitment to ensure Aboriginal women's access to justice? And where is the commitment to reduce vulnerability to violence?
She is calling on the government to do the right thing by Indigenous women in this country and to provide 'certainty and additional resources' for culturally and physically safe services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.