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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13200

Mr WATTS (Gellibrand) (10:45): I move:

That this House:

(1) acknowledges that White Ribbon:

(a) is a male led campaign to end male violence against women;

(b) is now active in over 60 countries around the world; and

(c) ambassadors around Australia are working to engage men and encourage them to take a leadership role in ending violence against women;

(2) notes that:

(a) in 2015 in Australia, approximately two women are murdered each week by a partner or former partner;

(b) 17 per cent of Australian women have experienced violence by a current or former partner in their lifetime;

(c) men's violence against women is a symptom of gender inequality in our society; and

(d) social policy initiatives and law reform addressing gender inequality are central to reducing attitudes that support violence against women;

(3) recognises that:

(a) 25 November is White Ribbon Day; and

(b) the white ribbon is the symbol of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women; and

(4) supports White Ribbon and other organisations to eliminate violence against women.

This week all around Australia people from all walks of life will be marking White Ribbon Day on 25 November, which coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The profile of White Ribbon Day in Australia is a testament to the progress that we are making as a community in building community awareness about the issue of men's violence against women. The issue is slowly coming out of the shadows, the curtains are being pulled apart and light is being cast on an issue that previously was kept hidden from view.

Community groups, sporting clubs, governments, our Defence Force, businesses and hundreds of individuals will mark the day with fundraisers and awareness campaigns in their communities. We have seen real advances in the way that people are talking about this issue and, in particular, the recognition that gender inequality is at the heart of the problem. White Ribbon has played a key role in that shift in understanding as men stand up and take responsibility for changing the conversation and the way that women are viewed and treated in society.

White Ribbon is a national male-led campaign to end men's violence against women. Given that the root cause of men's violence against women is gender inequality, the engagement of men in the fight against this scourge is crucial. The promotion of gender equality and respectful relationships is crucial to changing community attitudes that enable violence against women. Given that the primary challenge in preventing this violence is to change the attitudes of men in our community, men need to be a major part of the response to this problem.

White Ribbon has done a great job at tackling this challenge through grass roots community action. Just looking at the White Ribbon website, you can see hundreds of White Ribbon events occurring this week across Australia. In my own electorate these include events with: Peter Jordan Real Estate in Altona, the maritime transport industry lunch at Williamstown Football Club, a Hobsons Bay City Council event at Cherry Lake, the Melbourne's West Zonta Says No to Violence against Women meeting at the Williamstown RSL, Williamstown Women's Lacrosse Club, St Leo the Great Primary School, Yarraville Seddon Football Club, the Expressions of Freedom: hip hop against domestic violence event in Footscray, the Phoenix Youth Centre's PhotoSTOP Violence against Women exhibition, Maribyrnong City Council, Victoria University at MetroWest, Regional Rail Link, Western Region Health White Ribbon Day Committee, Brimbank City Council and the Sunshine Business Association. The number and diversity of these events speak for themselves; it is a campaign that has gained extraordinary traction in our community.

This Friday night in Melbourne's west, I will be heading to the Substation in Newport for a White Ribbon event being held by the DONS. The DONS are the Dads of Newport and Surrounds, a group of local dads who met through the Western Bulldogs Sons of the West men's health program and have continued to support each other on the journey to better health by holding regular fitness and social activities in the community. One of the issues that was tackled in the Sons of the West program was violence against women, and White Ribbon partnered with the program to help the participants learn about their role in helping to put a stop to it.

We are a close bunch in Melbourne's west and pride ourselves in knowing our neighbours and welcoming new people into the community, so it is no surprise that these blokes wanted to build on this work in the broader community. On Friday, they are asking people in Melbourne's west to dress up in black and white and come along to the Substation for a night out to raise money to support White Ribbon's work. While I do not ordinarily condone people wearing Collingwood colours, it is a great initiative and I want to congratulate Jason and Lucy Cranage, Cameron Smith and Matt Elmar for their work, as well as the Substation, Mountain Goat, Lion and local early learning centres and primary schools that have been selling tickets and raising money.

Another great partnership event that has emerged from my electorate is between White Ribbon and the Western Bulldogs. On Wednesday this week, the Western Bulldogs are hosting a barbecue at Etihad Stadium for their supporters and the broader community to raise funds for White Ribbon. Super coach Luke Beveridge will be joined by players Matthew Boyd, Dale Morris, Mitch Wallis, Fletcher Roberts, Marcus Bontempelli—'the Bont'—and Lukas Webb at the event. I am proud to see the Western Bulldogs taking a leading stance on this issue and sending a clear message that violence against women is not tolerated by the club and nor should it be tolerated anywhere in society.

Two weeks ago, Parliamentarians Against Family Violence Friendship Group was proud to co-host the launch of the primary prevention framework developed by Our Watch, ANROWS and VicHealth. It builds on a strong body of research that tells us what the drivers of violence against women are, and tells us how we can prevent it. It tells us that we need to change our attitudes and behaviours in workplaces, schools, community organisations, sports clubs, media and in popular culture. White Ribbon Day does exactly this. It encourages men to stand up and take responsibility for the attitudes and behaviours within our community—within these sporting clubs, these workplaces and our community organisations.

Thanks to the work of White Ribbon, we are seeing that change can happen. This issue has come an extraordinary distance in the last 12 months in particular but also since the founding of White Ribbon in Australia. But the only way that we can make this change happen and continue the progress that we have been making is for people to work together, to look at their own behaviours and to work with the community to take a stand on men's violence against women. I congratulate everyone who has been involved to date.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Craig Kelly ): Is the motion seconded?

Ms Butler: I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.