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Prime Minister fails in his role to protect women.

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Nicola Roxon MP Shadow Attorney-General Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on the Status of Women

M E D I A R E L E A S E Prime Minister fails in his role to protect women

In Senate Estimates yesterday, the Government confirmed that a national campaign to discourage violence against women was pulled only days before it was set to be launched, because Government MPs, senators and advisers felt uncomfortable about the contents of the campaign.

Despite having spent millions of dollars producing television ads and other materials, the campaign was stopped, just days before its planned launch in December 2003.

For 8 years now young men have grown up without any leadership from the Federal Government about violence against women, and no clear message from the Prime Minister that sexual assault is wrong. During this time, the rates of violence against women and reported sexual assaults have risen in the community.

The Office of the Status of Women, who planned the campaign, confirmed that the ads tested very well in their market research. Nevertheless, the powerful Government Communications Uni gives politicians the final say on the campaign, and they vetoed it.

Violence against women may be a subject that confronts and disturbs a lot of people - but the reality is that it is also pulling our community apart. This violence kills, injures and harms many women every year, and that the vast majority of

perpetrators are males.

Labor Senator Trish Crossin has uncovered an ongoing pattern of funds being underspent, diverted and now wsted in areas dealing with violence against women - an area that should be a much higher priority for the Government.

A Prime Minister who refuses to act on this critical issue is ignoring the reality of many women in our community.

The campaign should be run. It should be endorsed by the Prime Minister and he should be brave enough to set an example for young men by telling them clearly that violence against women is wrong.

17 February 2004