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Monday, 25 June 2018
Page: 6273

Mr PERRETT (MoretonOpposition Whip) (12:33): I'm saddened to speak on this motion put forward by the member for Lindsay, but I thank her for moving it. I am sickened by the senseless death of young, talented Eurydice Dixon and would like to take this opportunity to extend my condolences to her family, her friends and her fans. I am also saddened that Eurydice was the 30th woman to be killed by men's violence against women in 2018. I acknowledge the member for Lindsay reading out that long list of names. Sadly, we are not even quite halfway through the year—too many deaths. Eurydice's death has touched many, right across the country. The fact that we are in parliament today speaking on this motion bears testimony to this. Let's make sure that her death, as horrific and sad as it is, is a catalyst for change. Violence against women weighs heavy on this nation's soul. It is everyone's business and everyone's problem, and it's particularly incumbent upon me and all men to force change.

Before we can fix a problem, we need to better understand it. Fortunately we have some wonderful organisations in Australia who assist women who have suffered violence by men. I'd like to particularly mention the Women's Legal Service Queensland, who are located in Annerley in my electorate of Moreton. Some of these organisations are also doing valuable research so we can learn about the signs and triggers when it comes to violence against women. From this research, some of the persistent myths peddled by some people are gradually being dispelled. Myths like: violence against women is perpetrated by average blokes who snap and turn violent out of the blue. Research by the Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network showed that men commit 80 per cent of murders in couples with a history of domestic violence. Overwhelmingly, the majority of those men had a history of abusing the women that they ultimately killed. One-third of these murders were committed by men after the relationship had ended. This research is important. It tells us there are warning signs—warning signs that we are ignoring.

Further data was released last week from the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. That data should make all Australian men stop and think. It revealed a 40.7 per cent average increase in domestic violence and 71.8 per cent increase in non-domestic assaults across New South Wales on State of Origin game nights. Over the six years that the data was collated, the spike in domestic and non-domestic violence on State of Origin game nights was significant and consistent. In the 12 hours from 6 pm on game nights, women and children in New South Wales are almost 40 per cent more likely to become victims of domestic violence. I'm sure Queensland, sadly, would replicate those results, depending on what happens on the field that night. This is a frightening statistic. I mean, I love the State of Origin series. I get a bit sad sometimes. But I think sport contributes to a cohesive society, but with statistics like these that I've just mentioned, we need to take a closer look at what we can do to curb these spikes in violence. The State of Origin series is played by men; I know there is a women's game started, but these statistics relate to the men's series. The State of Origin and Rugby League in Australia are governed overwhelmingly by men. It is clear from this research that Rugby League games are actually putting women at risk. It's clear from this research that we need to do more. What we don't know is why.

This is a problem that men have the power to fix and that men need to fix, and men need to fix it now. It is unacceptable that women live in fear of being injured or killed by a male partner or former partner, and it is unacceptable that women are sometimes blamed when men rape or murder them. Obviously, most men are good, decent people who would never hurt a woman, but it is up to good, decent men and good, decent women to call out behaviour that contributes to violence against women—particularly men, all men.

White Ribbon Australia suggests five actions for men. No. 1 if someone says something that makes you feel uncomfortable, ask them to repeat it or say to them, 'I'm not sure what you mean.' No. 2 bring it home; challenge the person who is being disrespectful by saying, 'What if this was your sister or your daughter or your son?' No. 3 turn the conversation around by saying, 'I believe abusing a woman is wrong.' No. 4, if you're in a group and the conversation is uncomfortable, ask if anyone else feels uncomfortable too. No. 5 talk to the person privately about what they said or did and its effect on others.

Sadly, nothing will bring Eurydice Dixon back, but she should never be forgotten. We all have the power to prevent more violence against women. Let's start today. I again thank the member for Lindsay for having the courage and conviction to bring this motion into the parliament.