The Albanese government is in the box seat as Australians rally against gendered violence

This article was written by Q+A and Patricia Karvelas and published on ABC on the 29th April 2024. 

The Albanese government has made a funding commitment of $2.3 billion over the 2022-23 and 2023-24 budgets to address women’s safety and support delivery of the action plans. This weekend  Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said he did not support a royal commission but not because the issue did not matter — but because it delayed action that needed to be taken now.

But experts say the investment promised is not enough to deal with the scale of the crisis of domestic, family and sexual violence in Australia. Now teal MPs are pushing for funding to accelerate too.

Teal independent MP for Goldstein, Zoe Daniel, says the prime minister must declare violence against women a national emergency.

“We need to treat gendered violence with the same level of urgency we show to terrorism, because it is a form of terrorism, and certainly at a rate of a woman every four days, it’s killing more Australians,” she tells me.

“We are desensitised to this. Whether we label it terrorism or not, the fact is that women and children are being terrorised across our nation. We cannot let this be yet another moment of hand-wringing that leads nowhere.”

Daniel says we need to see it as (1) a set of immediate actions — things like how AVOs and bail are failing women, things like how gaps in data are leading to red flags being missed, then (2) next steps — how to address violent online porn, toxic misogynistic influencers online, other drivers like gambling and financial pressure, and all the while (3) we have a long-run education, prevention, cultural-change approach to elevate respect for women and girls and to provoke men and boys to be more than bystanders.

Crucially, she says federal and state governments also have to get together and stop throwing the can between them.

“For example, the federal government has given the states funding for 500 family violence workers — where are they? The national plan is a good set of aims but it’s underfunded.”

And she argues that family violence organisations live hand to mouth, constantly worrying about whether their funding will be renewed.

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