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Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Page: 12129


Mr CONROY (Charlton) (09:54): I want to take this opportunity to speak about domestic and family violence today, as Reclaim the Night will be held in my electorate next Friday night. Reclaim the Night is an annual campaign to raise awareness about violence against women. I have been proud to attend the previous two Reclaim the Nights in my time as the member for Charlton. As the father of a young daughter, I do not want my little girl growing up in a society where domestic violence continues to plague our communities in such an horrific way. As the father of a baby boy, I do not want my son growing up in a culture where this is in any way deemed acceptable. Domestic violence is never all right; violence against women is never all right.

The statistics on domestic and family violence are beyond alarming. Just under half a million Australian women reported physical or sexual violence in the past 12 months—half a million women in a country of 23 million. One-third of women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 and 20 per cent of women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. Fifty per cent of girls who grow up in families where domestic violence occurs are more likely to have partners who inflict domestic violence on them when they are adults, and 40 per cent of boys who grow up in families where domestic violence occurs are likely to perpetuate domestic violence when they are adults. We should recognise that violence against men is, equally, never acceptable.

There are no words to describe these statistics. The status quo cannot continue. It is positive that governments at all levels are committing resources to fight domestic violence, and I join my state colleagues in acknowledging the New South Wales government's recently announced $60 million package.

More can and should be done, however, and I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of my colleague, Jodie Harrison, the shadow minister for the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault. Whilst the role of governments is crucial in combatting domestic violence, governments cannot fight this alone. We need significant cultural change in Australia, and this must come from every element in our society—in our workplaces, our schools, our universities, our community, and our youth and sporting groups.

I want to pay tribute to the Macquarie Scorpions, a rugby league team in my electorate who are pioneers in fighting domestic violence—a group of footy players and their supporters who have clearly stated that domestic violence is not acceptable. The Scorps have been instrumental in instituting the Let's Tackle Domestic Violence round of games in the local rugby league competition, and I would like to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of the entire club, and, in particular, Kevin Maher, in campaigning against domestic violence.

Before finishing, I wish to place on the record my admiration for Rosie Batty and the magnificent work she does with the Never Alone Luke Batty Foundation in highlighting this horrible epidemic.

Domestic and family violence is never acceptable. It is certainly a positive that all of us in this place recognise the significance of this problem, and it is up to all of us, as the elected representatives and local leaders of our community, to make Australia a safer place and do everything we can to end domestic and family violence.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mrs Griggs ): Thank you very much, Member for Charlton. No truer words have been said.