Politicians Say No More To Family Violence
29 November 2016 at 11:07 am
The country’s top political leaders have put aside partisan politics to back a Northern Territory grassroots domestic violence campaign saying “no more” to family violence in Indigenous communities.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten joined NO MORE Campaign founder Charlie King OAM outside Parliament House on Monday to link arms in a bid to show solidarity with the community to end family violence.
Turnbull later moved a motion in parliament to acknowledge that violence against women was a national issue that required a whole of community response.
Addressing the House of Representatives, Turnbull said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women were 34 times more likely to experience violence.
“As a Parliament, and as a nation, we no longer avert our gaze from the horror and the shame that is domestic violence – we look clear eyed at this appalling failure and we are resolved to stop it,” Turnbull said.
“It is the strong women who talk bravely about their tragic personal experiences, who help us confront the shocking realities of the crimes against them.
“Nationally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are hospitalised for family violence-related assaults at over 30 times the rate of non-Indigenous women.
“We can and we must do better.”
Shorten, who is also the shadow minister for Indigenous affairs, said “we owe it to ourselves” to right this wrong.
“From the communities themselves, from the mouths of the elders has come the call: Link up. No More,” Shorten said.
“Violence has no place in culture and it must stop.
“Women and children must be cherished, respected and honoured.
“Those words have been repeated on local ovals and echoed on national stadiums. Arms joined, linking up from the northern tip of our nation, to here in the capital.
“Both a promise – and an acceptance of responsibility.
“An acknowledgement that violence against women is perpetuated by men. And until men change – change our attitudes, change our actions, change our example – nothing will change.”
Indigenous leader and NO MORE Campaign founder King welcomed the commitment from federal government.
He said the show of solidarity from the nation’s leaders highlighted the need for a national response to stopping family violence and that it must be the ultimate goal of society.
“All Australians have the right to live safe and dignified lives, and we cannot continue to use culture, alcohol, victim blaming or even history as a reason for the continued attack on these fundamental human rights,” King said.
“We welcome the prime minister and deputy leader’s commitment to listening to the voices of Aboriginal people and supporting the grassroots initiatives that are building community capacity to make change and end family violence.”
The NO MORE Campaign began in 2006 and has adopted the symbol of linked arms to reflect calls from local elders of “no more” and “all men should link up”.
The movement aims to challenge the attitudes and behaviours of people who use violence by engaging with the wider community to develop plans of action to make communities safe.
In recent years it has gained momentum by working with top sporting teams in a bid to curb violence rates community by community.
The campaign now has links with more than five sporting codes and nearly a hundred teams.
King said men needed to stand up and demonstrate their leadership and show a willingness to be part of the solution.
“It’s encouraging to see the emergence of men’s groups that are coming forward to promote men’s responsibility of the problem and to take ownership for finding a solution,” King said.
“Men have said from the beginning, we are the problem and we are the solution.”