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Wednesday, 15 November 2017
Page: 8532

Senator MOORE (Queensland) (15:08): I move:

That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Employment (Senator Cash) to a question without notice asked by Senator Moore today relating to the release by Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (Queensland) of a domestic violence policy.

This was the first question of the day. It seems like a long time ago. The question I put to the minister was about the Liberal Party knowledge of the One Nation domestic violence plan that was only released quite recently and also whether in fact, as a result of the knowledge of that plan, she had any concerns and, as a result of those concerns, which she indicated that she had, whether she was concerned about the situation in Queensland—I won't call it a deal, as the minister seemed to take objection to the term 'deal'—which is on the public record that the Liberal National Party is preferencing One Nation in at least 49 seats in the Queensland election. In terms of the process—

Senator Ian Macdonald: Not in Thuringowa, as you know.

Senator MOORE: I'm sorry? I heard something across the chamber. I'm concerned about that.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator, I may be able to help you—just ignore the interjection.

Senator MOORE: I raised those issues because the release of the One Nation domestic violence plan a couple of days ago—it's a very short plan, and anyone in the chamber would be able to read it quite clearly—has caused a number of responses in Queensland by people who work within the industry and also by people concerned about the issues of domestic violence. In particular, the previous minister in Queensland, my friend Shannon Fentiman, and the Liberal-National shadow minister for child protection and domestic violence issues in Queensland, Ros Bates, have both made very strong comments on their concerns about the impact of this particular plan. Also, my friend Angela Lynch from the Women's Legal Service went on record as well around the issues of legal process.

The plan is clear and it talks about the fact that there are concerns about a number of the policies that are part of this new plan put forward by One Nation. One of them is around the appearance in court of people involved in domestic violence and also the impact that this could have on people's feelings of safety and protection in this area. The Senate did an extensive inquiry on domestic violence a couple of years ago, and one of the key issues that came out of that was the concern about the impact of having both the alleged victim of domestic violence and the alleged perpetrator of domestic violence being together in a court process. This was raised consistently as an area which could create further damage, further harm and further fear—not just to the people involved immediately but also to the children who could be caught up in this process.

We raised this particularly because, when Mr Dickson and Ms Hanson were releasing this plan in Queensland, they said that the whole focus of the domestic violence plan before us was to look at the needs of children. We all agree with making sure that we listen to the needs of children. The minister made a strong point in her answers that she believed that everybody in this chamber would share concerns around ensuring that anyone who is caught up in the process of domestic violence should feel safe and protected. Unfortunately, Ms Hanson was not in the chamber at that time, so we don't know whether Ms Hanson feels the same way. It would be useful to get that on record sometime in the future. I say 'Ms Hanson', in her role as leader of the party, but I should say 'Senator Hanson', in the case of being in the Senate.

There was a clear reason behind my question. When there are such strong and very longstanding policies in this place about what we need to do cooperatively together at the state and federal government levels to ensure that we identify the clear concerns around domestic violence, when issues have been raised by practitioners, supporters and advocates for those in domestic violence and when we have a plan being put forward by one party and then we have the decision by the LNP government in Queensland to provide preference deals with that party that's put forward such a plan, the reason for my question was to see whether, in fact, the minister responsible here was aware of the plan and whether she had talked with the One Nation party. We found out that she had not spoken with the party, but we did get clearly on record that she was concerned by some of the issues in that plan that I'd put forward in my question.

So my question remains. If there are these concerns raised with the minister, who has taken a lead in the area of domestic violence nationally, there should be an interaction, there should be discussion and there should be discussions about whether the LNP is fully aware of this particular policy and, if so—and having their shadow minister knowing about it—what will happen next. (Time expired)