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Monday, 25 June 2018
Page: 6277

Ms BANKS (Chisholm) (12:48): Eurydice Dixon was 22 years old, a budding comedian and well loved in her community in Melbourne. Her life was tragically ended by the actions of another, and her death has created a shock wave throughout the community, our city of Melbourne and across the nation. Women and men from all over Melbourne, from varied backgrounds and of diverse ages, gathered at Carlton's Princes Park in a silent vigil to mourn this tragic loss of life, as we did in Parliament House in Canberra. Eurydice Dixon was the victim of a shocking crime. As has recently been reported, Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said:

In society, even in the safest society, evil occurs. People will do evil things and for reasons you just can't understand. You see it in every community in the world.

And we as a nation saw evil and grief for Eurydice Dixon and her family and friends.

Our Australian culture does not condone violence against women, and it is wrong to attribute responsibility for such violence and attitudes to all men. When one man commits an evil act it should not be collectively attributed to all men. Men who abuse or commit violent crimes against women are held as much in contempt by Australian men as they are by Australian women. As we know, it has been reported that, shockingly, the most likely place for a woman to be killed is in her own home. Domestic homicides occur when the victim is killed by a family member or partner, and the overwhelming majority of victims of domestic homicides are women.

As parents, we have a responsibility to raise our children to have and show respect for all people in their lives and, especially, to tackle entrenched cultural and societal bias against women. In the workplace and in the community, we must facilitate complex discussions about the barriers to equality and, with particular reference to this motion, about the barriers which denigrate respect to women.

The Turnbull government has a zero tolerance for violence against women, and we have already committed $54.4 million to services for women affected by violence and for online safety initiatives for women. We've committed an additional $11½ million for the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service 1800RESPECT over the next two years as a frontline response service for affected survivors. We've also delivered $6.7 million to maintain funding for DV-alert to continue its domestic violence response training for community frontline workers, $14.2 million over four years for the Office of the eSafety Commissioner to help make cyberspace safer for women and, importantly, $22 million over five years to address abuse of older Australians, which affects up to 20 per cent of elderly women. This builds on the more than $300 million that has been spent on women's safety.

Approximately every seven minutes Victoria Police receives a call for a family violence incident. In nearly all of these cases it is a woman on other end of the line seeking police assistance, who is calling from their home or who has fled their violent partner or spouse. I disagree with the unwarranted criticism of Victoria Police in the context of the Eurydice Dixon case. Their advice was well intentioned and in the context of a horrific crime. I would like to place on record my gratitude to Victoria Police, to its frontline defenders and preventers of violence against women, such as the wonderful and too-often unsung heroes at the Family Violence Command. I would also like to thank local figures in my electorate of Chisholm, such as the Box Hill police station's Senior Sergeant Ron Sinclair and his amazing team, who work day in, day out and have played an integral role in engaging culturally and linguistically diverse leaders throughout Chisholm to drive change within our community in this regard.

In closing, I would like to repeat the words which have been said before by our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with respect to violence against women. Those words are:

Disrespecting women doesn't always result in violence against women but all violence against women begins with disrespecting women.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Vamvakinou ): The time allotted for this debate has expired. The debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting.