EDITORIAL: PM pledges $925.2m to address domestic violence crisis but falls short of delivering real change

Editorial
The Nightly
3 Min Read
The Prime Minister has pledged almost $1b to address the domestic violence crisis but has fallen short of delivering real change.
The Prime Minister has pledged almost $1b to address the domestic violence crisis but has fallen short of delivering real change. Credit: LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

Anthony Albanese must be a big Elton John fan.

The singer’s 1976 classic Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word appears to be the Prime Minister’s personal theme tune and he’s clearly taken the lyrics to heart.

Following an emergency national cabinet meeting to address the crisis of violence against women, Mr Albanese was still unable to utter the “hardest” word— despite making domestic violence survivor Sarah Williams cry at a rally in Canberra on the weekend.

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Putting aside widespread condemnation of his behaviour, the PM doubled down on his belief he did nothing wrong and again refused to apologise.

“I don’t want to see anyone in that situation, feel badly about anything, about any circumstance,” he said. “I wish Sarah well.”

That’s a lot of words when one would have done the trick.

Instead, Mr Albanese wanted everyone to focus on the fact the Federal Government was tackling the DV crisis head on — by throwing cash at the problem. To the tune of $925.2 million over five years.

The money — to be handed down at the Federal Budget in a fortnight — will make the Leaving Violence Payments program, which has been trialled since 2021, permanent.

The program offers payments of up to $5000 to help women leave abusive relationships.

While it is a step in the right direction, giving permanence to a program that has been in place while the rates of violence and the number of women being killed have been increasing, is not enough.

At least 29 women have been killed by men in Australia this year. Obviously, the program did not help save their lives.

Mr Albanese also announced a provision to trial age assurance technology to restrict online access to pornography, which has long been criticised for perpetuating sexist and misogynistic views about women, especially among teens and young boys.

And new measures to ban deep-fake or AI-generated pornography will be implemented.

“There should be zero tolerance for harmful content that glorifies violence against Australian women,” Mr Albanese said. “Young adults should not be coached in disrespect or misogyny by online influencers.”

Better policing the internet is another positive step but, once again, how will it solve the current real-world crisis that has seen an average of one Australian woman killed every four days this year?

Deputy Liberal Leader Sussan Ley.
“I want women across this nation to listen to the messages that come out of the national cabinet and hear actions, not words, real commitment, not just more talk,” Ms Ley said. Credit: Paul Braven/AAP

Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley called out the government for not fulfilling the promise of providing an extra 500 frontline domestic violence caseworkers.

“I want women across this nation to listen to the messages that come out of the national cabinet and hear actions, not words, real commitment, not just more talk,” Ms Ley said.

She’s not wrong.

More action was needed. More frontline workers are needed. Bail reforms are desperately needed.

And until real change happens, we are all still caught in a very sorry mess.

Responsibility for the editorial comment is taken by WA Editor-in-Chief Anthony De Ceglie

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