Standing up for Canberra

Domestic violence


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Fair Work Amendment: Family and Domestic Violence Leave Bill

Violence and abuse against women exists in many forms. It can be physical. It can be emotional. It can be financial.

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Private Members Motion: White Ribbon Day

Yesterday was International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and day one of 16 Days of Activism.

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Canberra Community Sleepout

Tomorrow night, nearly 2,000 Canberrans are sleeping rough for the third annual Canberra Community Sleepout. The sleep-out is jointly organised by Communities@Work and the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra-Goulburn—and I thank them both for their ongoing support for those doing it tough in the national capital. It is a fantastic initiative that this year has raised more than $83,000 for two very worthy causes: family violence and homelessness. In Canberra, around 29 per cent of people experiencing homelessness are fleeing family violence.

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Tara Costigan Foundation

Earlier this year, Canberrans were shocked to the core at the death of Tara Costigan through what is suggested was family violence. In response to that, the outpouring of grief and shock but also of support to the family that she left behind—a one-week-old baby girl, as well her other young children—from Canberrans was extraordinary.

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The Tara Costigan Foundation

Yesterday I joined with the Leader of the Opposition and the ACT Attorney-General for the launch of the Tara Costigan Foundation. Members may recall that Tara Costigan was killed by her partner in February, one week after the birth of her third child, a beautiful little girl. Her death sent shock waves throughout the Canberra community and generated an overwhelming level of support for her children particularly, and an overwhelming level of concern and awareness about the filthy little shameful secret that is domestic and family violence. 

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Domestic Violence - Tara Costigan

It is with great sadness that I rise again today to speak about an issue that has sent shock waves through the Canberra community—that is, domestic violence. In a matter of weeks, we have had three deaths allegedly linked to family violence, and the death that has really mobilised the Canberra community has been the tragic death of Tara Costigan. I spoke in the House about Tara Costigan a few weeks ago, but I speak again today because it is still an issue that is front and centre for many Canberrans. A few weeks ago, I held a mobile office in the Woden town centre. I assumed I would be inundated with people wanting to talk to me about Public Service job cuts and other issues related to what was happening in Woden. But, instead, the main issue of discussion with constituents was the sadness, the distress and the concern that is being felt by the Canberra community about what happened to Tara, and the fact that domestic violence seems to be so prevalent in Canberra.

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Tara Costigan

The horrific death of Tara Costigan last weekend has sent shockwaves through the Canberra community. So many people have been affected by this tragedy, and I am proud of the way Canberrans have rallied together to raise more than $76,000 for Tara's three children, who have been left without a mother. One of her children is not more than one week old. This morning I received an email from a woman whose children went to the same school as Tara's children. It reads:

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Family Violence

I would like to begin by thanking the member for Gellibrand for moving this motion on a subject that is very close to my heart. I would also like to acknowledge his role in setting up, with the member for Hasluck, the Parliamentarians Against Family Violence group. It is really impressive to see men standing up the for an issue that so overwhelmingly impacts women. I commend them for that and I also commend the speakers on this motion today.

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Relationships Australia

On Friday morning I had the great pleasure of having a tour and meeting with the team from Relationships Australia for Canberra and the region. I want to take this opportunity to commend that team for their great work. Relationships Australia supplies employee assistance to Canberra and the region, relationship counselling, family dispute resolution, trauma counselling and services to Aboriginal Canberrans, particularly to those who are incarcerated at the jail or living at Bimberi.

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The power of education

Before I go on to give my speech, I just want to commend and congratulate the member for McMillan for a very, very powerful speech. The figures are breathtaking, and they are shameful. It is a national disgrace. I am not sure whether the member saw the piece in The Australian magazine on the weekend. It was an incredibly graphic piece on domestic violence. The editor of the magazine wrote in her editorial that, unfortunately, in reading that story, there was no happy ending. 

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