White Ribbon Day, which marked the annual anti-domestic violence campaign last Friday, was just the first of 16 consecutive days in which Australians are focusing on the crime.
Commenting on DV, Parkes Federal MP Mark Coulton highlighted the November 23 speech by Labor member for Lindsay Emma Husar in which she opened up about her personal experience of domestic and family violence. Her speech to Parliament left her colleagues in tears.
She spoke of her “always drunk-when-abusive father”, escaping to women’s refuges and, when her father learned of the refuge locations, pubs.
While the blows that landed on her mother didn’t land on her physically, she said, they may as well have as the trauma inflicted was the same.
She concluded: “For many years I was embarrassed and ashamed. I know that I shouldn't be but I am. I hope that today I have lent my voice, my story, and my passion for advocating change to the choir of the White Ribbon movement who call on us to stand up, speak out and act."
Mr Coulton was in the Speaker’s Chair at the time and commended Ms Husar on her courage in speaking up.
He said on Monday: “That was a very emotional thing for her to tell the Australian people of her circumstances and the circumstances around her mother.
“It was a very powerful speech and moment in Parliament.
“That just goes to show that this is a shocking crime that is in all levels of our society and I think by her having such a personal story has maybe helped other people to see that it’s not acceptabe to treat others in such a way.
“I knew what she was going to say – the leader of the Labor Party in the House had given me the heads up – so I made sure that [the house] remained in a very respectful way. And obviously when everyone realised that she was making such a personal speech they were very respectful.
“If it doesn’t impact on people personally, it impacts on the people that we represent and we have an obligation to make sure it gets stamped out,” he said.