Speeches Chris has made in the Australian Federal Parliament.

Private Members' Business - International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

March 11, 2020

Mr HAYES (FowlerChief Opposition Whip) (12:20): I rise to speak on this motion on the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, marked this year on 25 November. In the lead-up to this day, a number of organisations in my community held various events to raise awareness about the dire situation with regard to domestic violence. On 20 November, I had the privilege of joining the annual Cabramatta Walk Against Domestic and Family Violence. The event was attended by over a thousand people and was hosted by the Fairfield local police together with Fairfield City Council and sponsored by one of our major clubs, Mounties. I'd like to give special thanks to Detective Chief Inspector Darren Newman for his initiative in starting this annual walk six years ago. This has become a worthwhile legacy in our community—

A division having been called in the House of Representatives—

Sitting suspended from 12 : 21 to 12 : 41

Mr HAYES: I'd also like to acknowledge Mr Lachlan Erskine, Deputy Principal of Cabramatta High School, for his efforts in leading the domestic violence organising committee. It was particularly moving to see the students from Lansvale Public School, Canley Vale Public School, Cabramatta Public School and Cabramatta High School get on board and show their support through art, poetry and songs, reflecting on the effect of domestic violence on our communities. The performances were certainly heartfelt and reinforced that the issue of domestic violence requires a holistic community effort.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank Sydney Trains, particularly the Liverpool railway station and the indomitable Ragina Naidu, for the instrumental work they do each year in drawing attention to domestic violence. They certainly take a lot on in calling on members of our community to stand up, speak out and take steps to break the cycle of violence. Likewise, I'd like to thank Mr Sorn Yin, President of the Khmer Community of New South Wales, and his team for their efforts in uniting the Vietnamese, Lao, Thai and Burmese communities in my electorate on this important issue. They put together a very impressive showcase of cultural diversity as a means of drawing attention to domestic violence. It's always inspirational to see the community come together and stand in a public display against domestic violence and raise awareness about this longstanding complex issue facing our community. It is events such as these that help transform public awareness about domestic violence and give victims the courage and the support to report these crimes.

By now we should all be very familiar with the statistics. One in three women will have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from someone that they know and, regrettably, each week on average one woman is murdered by a current or former partner. I know from my police that more than 50 per cent of all the assaults reported in my area are domestic violence related. These statistics make it pretty clear that domestic violence is not just a matter that we can say is for the authorities. This is a matter that we must address in our communities. We must all work together to develop an integrated and coordinated multiagency response. However, for me, the issue of domestic violence becomes personal. As a grandfather of 10—six of which are granddaughters—I am petrified that, on that current statistic of one in three, my family is represented twofold to become affected by domestic violence.

Violence against women is real and it is happening in our communities and neighbourhoods. It involves women no matter how successful, resilient and strong and no matter their ethnic or religious beliefs. If we are to work towards eradicating domestic violence, we must give women the confidence to report these crimes and engage with our police. We need more men to stand up and say that this is not acceptable. We need more men promoting and educating the community about domestic violence. I think the simple truth is that we actually do need more real men.

It is not enough to just give speeches at this time each year; it is imperative that we as a community take responsibility and look out for our families, our friends, our workmates and our neighbours. We must be prepared to stand up and speak out when it comes to domestic violence. We must do all that we can and use all of our endeavours to help break this cycle; otherwise, we will see it perpetuate into the future—and that's not the legacy we want to bequeath to all those who follow us.