National Domestic Violence Order Scheme Bill 2016

Written on the 13 October 2016

11 October 2016


Second Reading Speech

GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)


I am also pleased to rise this afternoon and speak to the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme Bill 2016.

As other members in their contributions have said, this is a serious issue that we all collectively have concerns with and have a bipartisan approach to dealing with. Successive governments have undertaken and looked at various issues around domestic violence or family violence. As other speakers have said, this current government established the royal commission, which resulted in 227 recommendations. I would like to take this opportunity of congratulating and acknowledging Tim Cartwright in the position that he is now undertaking as implementation monitor to oversee and look at the implementation of those recommendations. I note that that has occurred after the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, who was co-chairing that important task, was sidelined by the Premier unfortunately, I believe. Nevertheless, I think Mr Cartwright will do an excellent job in that role.

This bill is to provide for a national recognition scheme for family violence intervention orders, family violence safety notices and other domestic violence orders (DVOs). As I said, subsequent governments have been looking at this issue, and I note that the federal government, which has been working across the nation and working with all levels of government in addressing this very big issue, had this on the agenda for the Council of Australian Governments early last year. I think at the time the federal minister was hoping that a national domestic violence order scheme would be complete around the end of 2016. There was no certainty around that, but there was the intention that there be a national domestic violence order scheme in place and that that would enable various jurisdictions to be able to share that information.

As others have said, this is really about ensuring that a victim of family violence whether that is a woman fleeing a family violence situation or someone who has a DVO out in one particular state or territory and who travels to another state or territory does not have to reapply to the courts to get that order reinstated. As my colleague Mr Rich-Phillips highlighted, it is not about just women and children. We know victims of family violence suffer financial abuse, and that is certainly a form of family violence. We have people in same-sex relationships and this is very underreported that are also fleeing domestic violence situations. We have the complexities of a whole range of different issues around family violence or domestic violence situations and even some males who are fleeing violent female partners. I have heard many stories of males fleeing violent female partners perhaps because they are under the influence of drugs and alcohol and also have very aggressive behaviour.

We are talking about anyone who needs to have that protection in place. Yes, there is a big focus on women and children, and, yes, it is true to say that more women are seriously maimed and even tragically killed far too often at the hands of male perpetrators, but I think we need to be looking at all victims of family violence when we are talking about legislation such as this. It is incredibly important.

As I said, I am very pleased that there is an approach at all levels of government to look at the very serious issue of domestic or family violence, and much is being done at the federal level. Of course various aspects are also happening at the state level but also at the local government level as well. There are programs and also organisations who have programs in place doing a huge amount of work to assist in this endeavour. As I mentioned previously, COAG firmly looked at this situation and agreed to introduce a national domestic violence order scheme, and all leaders agreed to introduce laws to facilitate this in the first half of next year. I am referring to a report at the end of last year, in 2015, and I note that it was introduced towards the end of the first half of this year, and we are debating it now. COAG, together with the advisory panel that the federal government put together with former Australian of the Year Rosie Batty and former police commissioner Ken Lay, have undertaken a significant amount of work in this area too, and that is very heartening for the public to know this.

One of the areas that I want to draw attention to is the area in the bill that talks about the commencement date, and this comes into operation on a day or days to be proclaimed. As my colleague Mr Pesutto pointed out, we do not know when that might be, and the government needs to make that as clear as possible because, yes, we are relying on some IT systems, but I remind members that the CrimTrac agency actually has an ability to share data, and I will refer to what it says in a moment, but we also had national schemes before the information technology came into being that did occur across the various jurisdictions in Australia, so it is not as if we have not done this before, where national schemes are put in place.

I will return to CrimTrac. CrimTrac, in partnership with all Australian police agencies, continues to work collaboratively to provide essential information services to police and law enforcement agencies for a safer community and safer Australia, and in 201516 the CrimTrac agency referred to what they were going to do, and that included things such as continuing to operate, maintain and enhance existing systems and services, including the following national systems and services: automated fingerprint identification system; criminal investigation DNA database; child protection services; police reference systems; police checking services; national firearms services; national ballistics identification; missing person and victim system; and the cybercrime online reporting network. Importantly, in relation to what we are discussing here this afternoon, it also included implementing a national domestic violence order information sharing system prototype.

So this is something that CrimTrac that is, the police agencies are already doing and looking at and tracking. They have a strategy that recognises, and I quote:

that CrimTrac is responsible for providing national information-sharing solutions for our partners

This actually fits in relation to what we are discussing here, so I do see that the government needs to take this into consideration and not use the excuse of the federal government and what they are trying to achieve at a national level without undertaking its responsibility in relation to this very important area surrounding a national domestic violence order scheme and allowing those people who are subject to orders in one jurisdiction and one part of the country to be able to have that applied in another jurisdiction.

I note that Tasmania, I think I am correct in saying, has undertaken its responsibilities and has legislation in place, as do a number of other jurisdictions around the country. This government talks about the work it has done in relation to family violence, and I am not taking away from any of that, but I do not want the federal government to be used in the situation of this particular piece of legislation to delay having an order scheme like this up and running when there are clearly other avenues for that to be achieved.

Can I say again, as Mr Rich-Phillips has already indicated, the opposition will not be opposing the bill. Great work is being done at all levels of government on this very serious issue for all victims who are in terrible and unfortunate circumstances of being victims of family violence or domestic violence or fleeing such a situation. With those few words I conclude my contribution but reiterate to the government that it must move on this as soon as possible.



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