ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
OUR WATCH — WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 25
I acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, on whose land I’m on today. I pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
Even before coronavirus really took hold, Australia was shaken this year.
The murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children by her estranged husband broke all of our hearts.
Then there were the murders that didn’t get the same attention. Among them were Western Sydney woman Erlinda Songcuan.
And an 18-year-old First Nations Women from the Pilbara, whose murder has robbed her toddler and four-week-old baby of a mother.
An average of one woman a week murdered by her current or former partner.
Almost 10 women a day taken to hospital with injuries inflicted by their partner.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are 32 times more likely to be hospitalised with injuries from family violence than non-Indigenous women.
We cannot allow ourselves to become numb to these numbers.
And yet this is a conversation we have year in, year out. We hold vigils and light candles. We express our grief. We wipe away tears.
It is important, but it is not enough. As politicians, we can do more than hold candles.
Coronavirus has shown what we as a society are truly capable of when faced with adversity. How we can make sacrifices, adapt, care for one another, and advocate for the vulnerable.
We are facing down the pandemic. We need to mobilise the power of government and civil society to face down the pandemic of domestic violence as well.
We also have the power to make change as individuals.
Just as we have all been in this together with coronavirus, we have to be in this together with violence against women.
We need to set an example for children as they grow into adults, an example based on respect for women.
We have to end the culture of excuses and say loudly and clearly that no man can claim he was driven to it or was left with no other choice.
We need to call out when people, including some of our fellow politicians, say this isn’t just about violence against women, and there is violence against men too. The fact is that overwhelmingly it is women and their children who are victims here.
No man can outsource his own responsibility.
And I say to all men that we must stand up, not be bystanders.
Whether we have a personal connection or not.
We must all stand up and end this. Together.