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Tuesday, 16 March 2021
Page: 61

Senator PAYNE (New South WalesMinister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women) (17:27): This motion moved by Senator Waters and the Australian Greens clearly raises a number of very important issues, as other contributors to this discussion have referred to. I also do not agree with or support joining the matters raised in relation to the Attorney-General in this motion as I do think that it diminishes addressing the other issues. I want to talk this afternoon about the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-22. It is our key strategic policy and response framework, which was established to build better coordination of long-term effort to reduce violence, including efforts to address the underlying drivers of gender based violence. We know that violence against women affects the whole community and requires a focus on primary prevention, early intervention, crisis response and recovery.

Having been in this place in 2010, when the government of then Prime Minister Julia Gillard introduced the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-22 in conjunction with the states and territories, my strong recollection of that period of time is a degree of—I won't say bipartisanship but I will say—non-partisanship across the parliament, across both chambers, across all parties and involving all members. It seems to me that a degree of that non-partisanship is diminishing in this place. As part of that national plan, since 2013 the Australian government has invested more than a billion dollars to prevent and respond to violence against women and their children. The national plan itself has a strong focus on primary prevention, stopping violence before it starts. Commonwealth direct investment in the fourth action plan, which runs until 2022, is of the sum of $340 million. It's about funding to improve frontline services to keep women and children safe, and about funding in support of prevention measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in particular.

We know that primary prevention works, but we also know that it takes time. It is important that it's coupled with well-coordinated responses by the Commonwealth, the states and the territories for those who have experienced violence. The funding for operations like 1800RESPECT and MensLine is providing crucial support to women and their children who are experiencing family, domestic and sexual violence, and to perpetrators who want to, and must, change their behaviour.

In the last 12 months the National Federation Reform Council has agreed on terms of reference for the Women's Safety Taskforce, under the auspices of the National Federation Reform Council. Prior to that, women's safety ministers were meeting in the context of COAG, as many will recall. Those terms of reference for the task force on women's safety, as agreed by the National Federation Reform Council, are very instructive for the way in which we work together in this country, as the states, the territories and the Commonwealth do, and usually across political divides, to address these crucial issues in reducing violence against women and their children.

The task force's work will encompass but not be limited to:

driving and reporting on actions to reduce violence against women and their children under the National Plan …

developing and implementing a new National Plan, including governance arrangements and a consultation process with a National Summit on reducing violence against women and their children—

That was raised with me yesterday in this place by representatives of domestic violence prevention organisations—

monitoring and responding to issues relating to women's safety, including the impacts of COVID-19 on women's safety—

I'm sure Senator Ruston made reference to the Commonwealth's, states' and territories' work together, and the funding for that, during 2020; and—

respecting and responding to the diverse lived experience of women affected by violence.

I am looking forward to the development of that national summit. It is something in which many of the stakeholders have a strong interest. We will be discussing those plans and the work of all the jurisdictions at the next meeting of women's safety ministers. Briefly, I can also advise the chamber, as I did in question time, that the government is addressing a number of the measures called for— (Time expired)