JENNY MCALLISTER - TRANSCRIPT - DOORSTOP INTERVIEW - PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA - THURSDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2021
11.58am | November 25, 2021
SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER
SHADOW CABINET SECRETARY
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER TO THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNITIES
AND THE PREVENTION OF FAMILY VIOLENCE
LABOR SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW, PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
THURSDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: Women’s safety; Labor’s announcement for a Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Commissioner; Labor’s announcement for 500 new community sector workers
JENNY MCALLISTER, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNITIES AND THE PREVENTION OF FAMILY VIOLENCE: Well, good morning. Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. All around the country today, women will gather in vigil to remember the lives lost to violence by women around Australia.
Each year, on average, one woman a week is killed at the hands of a former or current partner. This is a national tragedy. It is a national shame. It requires sustained effort and action to reduce this right across the community.
It's why I was proud to stand yesterday with our leader Anthony Albanese, and announce new measures that Labor will enact should we form government, to help women seeking to leave a violent relationship. 500 new workers placed in community sector organisations around the country, who will stand beside a woman when she makes that most difficult decision to leave a violent relationship.
It builds of course on our existing announcements to build new affordable housing. 30,000 new homes across the country, 4000 of which will be dedicated to serving the housing needs of women escaping violence and older women at risk of homelessness.
We know too, that a job is enormously protective. By staying connected to employment when you are seeking to escape violence helps very significantly. That's why labour supports 10 days paid domestic violence leave. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women also marks the beginning of 16 days of Activism. 16 days of action to end violence against women. And there's a clue there in the word action because it is time for action.
This government has been remarkably slow to respond to the calls from Australian women for real action on this issue. They've had eight years to actually take this issue seriously. Instead, we've seen delayed announcements or worse an indifference to this policy area. Even now, we are still waiting for a revised draft national plan. It's not here, Senator Ruston said that this would be delivered sometime in November. Well, the clock's ticking. We've seen no sign of it. Back in May, the government announced new funding for the states and territories to provide community services to assist women escaping violence. That funding is yet to be rolled out. We learned in estimates that funding that was to go to these women’s legal centres, in fact was just handed over to the states without any meaningful caveats about where those funds were to be directed.
These rushed policy decisions are not good enough. The 16 days of action should be a sign that the government could take real action. We have actually attended too many vigils. We have lost too many women. It is time for action.
JOURNALIST: One of the most important parts of ending violence against women is investing in primary prevention. What would Labor do in this area.
MCALLISTER: Labor established the First National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children and prevention was a key part of the architecture we established. Labor set up our watch the national body that works on prevention. Unfortunately, the energy around that project has really languished over the period of this government. We are looking in the next national plan for a real commitment to bolstering the resources of the prevention activities that Our Watch and other organisations are looking to undertake.
JOURNALIST: Would you see that happening in schools? Would you put [inaudible]? How does that work?
MCALLISTER: Our Watch has a framework which can be used in a range of settings. They've thought about how to involve schools, how to involve businesses, how to involve sporting clubs in prevention. It's a really key area of policy where we can make a difference.
MCALLISTER: What is needed is a person within the government who can hold the government to account for progress against the National Plan. My observation is that at present there is no single point of truth in relation to that question. It is quite difficult to get information from the government about where they are up to with plan implementation. Labor's plan for a Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Commissioner will see that person have responsibility for monitoring plan implementation and making public information about that available.