December 07, 2017

Mr HAYES (FowlerChief Opposition Whip) (10:24): As a White Ribbon Ambassador, I regularly take part in various events promoting the end of violence by males against women, particularly in the lead up to 25 November each year. This is the day declared by the United Nations as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The day before, 24 November, I took part in the Cabramatta White Ribbon March, an event which is held annually in my community. The event was hosted by the local police and Fairfield City Council and attracted over 1,500 people. It's always inspiring to see a community coming together, and in this case pledging their support against domestic violence and raising awareness. It is a longstanding issue, a very complex issue, but it faces all our communities, and here's a community trying to do something about it in a practical way. In any event, the White Ribbon Day March also helps transform public awareness in this respect, and I hope it gives victims of domestic violence the courage and support to report the crime.

I was particularly moved to see students from Lansvale Public School, Canley Vale Public School, Cabramatta Public School and Cabramatta High School all getting on board to show their support to the cause and utilising art, poetry and songs to reflect on the ramifications of domestic violence in our community. The performances were heartfelt and reinforced that domestic violence is not a quick fix but rather one that requires a holistic community approach.

There are a number of organisations in my community that do a fantastic job in not only spreading the message but also helping women who are subject to domestic violence. I particularly acknowledge Karen Willis from Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia, as well as Maree Mullins from Bonnie Support Services. These organisations do everything from providing crisis accommodation and counselling to giving the necessary support for these women to be able to stand up and face the courts. I particularly thank Detective Chief Inspector Darren Newman for the White Ribbon Campaign. I've known him for a long while. He leads a team of very dedicated people in the Cabramatta Local Area Command, absolutely dedicated in what he does in respect of domestic violence. It makes you proud to think that our cops put enormous effort into this. I know domestic violence is more than 50 per cent of their work. As a White Ribbon Day Ambassador, I urge all men to take the oath:

... never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.

Take the oath and live by that pledge. We must break this cycle. It's not just about communities; this is about our families.