In the past I have stated: Harm eradication is always preferable to harm minimisation.
I have particularly made that statement in relation to childhood sexual abuse. It is better for the Government to spend less now to prevent a problem than to have massive costs later on in dealing with these issues. I hold to the same principle with violence against women. The costs and consequences of violence against women last for generations, and I have certainly had previous personal experience with that. When young men see their dads, uncles or other male role models mistreat a woman, that is a bad example and has the capacity to reproduce itself in future generations.

Yesterday I asked the Leader of the Government a question without notice as to what the Government was doing about the problem of domestic violence. Yesterday the Government announced a package which puts the perpetrators of domestic violence clearly in the centre of the frame while also continuing to support women, men and children who have experienced domestic and family violence. The Christian Democratic Party concurs with the Government that domestic and family violence is a crime. It is about power and control. It has the potential to reach any household on any street in any suburb. I was concerned by the statistics provided by the Government. More than one in five domestic violence offenders ends up in court convicted of another domestic violence offence within two years. That recidivism is completely unacceptable. One incidence of domestic violence is one too many.

The Christian Democratic Party commends and supports the Government for its $60 million package which includes $15 million to introduce Domestic Violence High Risk Offender Teams in six police regions, rolled out over the next three years. The Christian Democratic Party further commends the Government for the additional investment of $19.5 million which will be invested in mandated perpetrator behaviour change programs to provide treatment to perpetrators, in a similar manner to that which is currently used for drug and alcohol offenders. The Christian Democratic Party will certainly be following this issue with great passion and interest and we look forward to the Government reporting the progress of these behavioural programs to the House in the future. The Federal Senate’s Finance and Public Administration References Committee interim report on domestic violence in Australia made the following important statement:

  • The National Plan’s overall aim is to change social attitudes about violence against women and their children to reduce domestic violence over the long term. The National Plan states that:
    … It is the first to look to the long term, building respectful relationships and working to increase gender equality to prevent violence from occurring in the first place.

On the topic of gender equality I reiterate what I have said previously: How can we ever have gender equality when our society accepts the status quo that women can be bought and sold as a commodity? As long as men—and it is largely men—think that it is okay to purchase another human being for sexual purposes, we will never mature as a nation. It is not respectful to women and will only cause confusion when society says women are equal while they are exposed to denigration and abuse. In the preface of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables there is a statement which sums up my sentiments. It states:

So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine with human fatality; so long as the … problems of the age … are not solved; … so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless.

The only way to permanently and definitely remove the hell of domestic violence is by changing the human heart. In Ephesians 4:23-24 Saint Paul says we need to renew the spirit of our minds and put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Our world needs new men with new hearts and new minds—heads and hearts that honour and respect women, not ones that see them as lesser beings.