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Speech for White Ribbon Day function, Canberra.



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ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON ROBERT McCLELLAND MP

White Ribbon Day Function

Parliament House, Canberra

Tuesday 25 November 2008 - 12:15 pm

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[Acknowledgements ]

• First , may I acknowledge the traditional owners

of the land we meet on - and pay my respects to

their elders, both past and present.

[Other Acknowl edgements ]

• Andrew O’Keefe , Chair, White Ribbon

Foundation

• The Hon Tanya Plibersek, Minister for the

Status of Women

• The Hon Joe Hockey MP, Manager of

Opposition Business and fellow White Ribbon

Ambassador

• Ladies and gentlemen

White Ribbon Day - International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women 25 November 2008

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[Introduction ]

1. It’s a great pleasure to join you today .

2. A lot has happened since 1991 when a handful of

Canadian men b egan the White Ribbon

Campaign to urge others to speak out about

violence against women.

3. Eight years later i n 1999, the United Nations

General Assembly declared November 25 as the

International Day for the Elimination of Violence

against Women .

4. And t oday hundreds of thousands of white

ribbons are worn by men and women across

Australia in all walks of life as we ma rk this

important day.

5. This sends a clear message that v iolence against

women is unacceptable and abhorrent.

And it has no place in our society.

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[Men in Leadership R oles ]

6. If we are to seriously reduce domestic violence

and sexual assault, Australian men have to be

actively involved.

7. It’s very pleasing to see that many men from

around Australia are becoming White Ribbon

Ambassadors - men who are willing to take a

stand and be positive role models to other s in the

community.

8. The list is long and varied - f rom the Prime

Minister, to leaders of community -based

organisations and sporting icons.

9. Earlier this year, at a time when all

Commonwealth and State and Territory

Attorneys -General were male - all committed to

becoming White Ribbon Ambassadors.

This was a clear message from the nation’s first

law officers - that violence against women in any

form is totally unacceptable.

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10. And we all believe i t is our responsibility to

advocate positive, non -violent relationships with

women .

We must send a strong message to Australians of

all ages that there is no excuse for violent

behaviour .

This is especially important for young people

because the impact of violence on them can be

quite destructive and long -lasting.

[National Plan ]

11. To further this aim , the Rudd Government has

taken a nation -wide approach, and has brought

together a Nationa l Council of experts to develop

a National Plan of Action to Reduce Violence

against Women and their Children .

12. The National Plan will enable all levels of

government and the community to :

• better support victims of violence

• strengthen and streamline domestic violence

and sexual assault legislation , and

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• reduce violence in future generations.

13. Consultation, engagem ent and contributions from

the states and t erritories have informed the

develop ment of the National Plan .

And the National Council has come a long way in

a short time in developing the Plan.

14. I’m looking forward very much to seeing the Plan

that the Council will be presenting to the

Minister Plibersek for consideration.

[Conclusion ]

15. And Minister Plibersek will shortly be receiving

another important document, which is the reason

we are here today.

16. The White Ribbon Youth Report An Assault on

Our Future: The impact of violence on young

people and their relationships deserves serious

cons ideration. We cannot be complacent.

17. I urge all men across Australia to join in the fight

to eliminate violence against women and

children.

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18. To quote the man who transformed non -violence

into a cultural movement, Mahatma Ghandi, ‘we

mus t be the change that we wish to see. ’1

ENDS

1

Mahatma Ghandi, 1869 -1948