EDITORIAL: Words are no longer enough as the domestic violence crisis rages on in Australia

The Nightly
3 Min Read
In a bid to take control of the situation, Anthony Albanese has, at the bequest of the State Premiers, convened the national cabinet for emergency talks on Wednesday.
In a bid to take control of the situation, Anthony Albanese has, at the bequest of the State Premiers, convened the national cabinet for emergency talks on Wednesday. Credit: The Nightly/The Nightly

Enough is enough.

How many more times will we have to say those words? Will we have to write those words?

We know enough is enough, but we also know that words are no longer enough.

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At the weekend, tens of thousands of people across the country turned up to demand action to stop the ongoing crisis of male violence against women.

The rallies came as 30-year-old West Australian mother-of-four Erica Hay on Friday became at least the 27th woman to allegedly die this year as a result of male violence.

The time for lip service is well and truly over. It is now time for strong leadership as we look to our politicians to tackle the issue with decisive action and a multi-faceted, considered approach.

But, so far, Anthony Albanese has fumbled the ball — badly.

The rallies came as 30-year-old West Australian mother-of-four Erica Hay on Friday became at least the 27th woman to allegedly die this year as a result of male violence. 
The rallies came as 30-year-old West Australian mother-of-four Erica Hay on Friday became at least the 27th woman to allegedly die this year as a result of male violence.  Credit: The Nightly

On Monday, the Prime Minister spent the morning back-pedalling on comments he made to the emotionally-charged rally outside Parliament House in Canberra on Sunday, where, in response to heckling, he told the 5000-strong crowd he had been denied permission by organisers to speak.

Organiser Sarah Williams later released a statement on social media refuting Mr Albanese’s claims, calling them a “flat-out lie”.

“(Mr) Albanese’s office made it clear he was just walking and was not interested in speaking,” Ms Williams said. “He never asked to speak. For him to not only demand he speak because he was being heckled, but also lie, was disgraceful.

“He demonstrated today what entitlement looks like. A man with power trying to diminish a vulnerable young woman.”

Mr Albanese attempted to defuse the situation on Monday, saying “it was an emotional day for people”.

With those words, he skirts dangerously close to victim blaming. Especially given Ms Williams started the rally by talking about her own experience with family and domestic violence.

“I burst into tears right next to (the Prime Minister),” she said. “The fact that you (Mr Albanese) continued to speak and didn’t mention me once or apologise was appalling. You walked to that stage and listed your achievements to try and save yourself.”

In a bid to take control of the situation, Mr Albanese has, at the bequest of the State Premiers, convened the national cabinet for emergency talks on Wednesday.

He said bail reforms were high on the agenda for the meeting.

It comes after the NSW Government ordered an urgent review of its bail laws after the alleged murder of 28-year-old, mother-of-one Molly Ticehurst. Her ex-partner, who was on bail facing charges of raping and stalking her, has been charged over her death.

“The laws, legal enforcements, the courts, community services by and large, are run by State and Territory governments,” Mr Albanese said.

“And that’s why a range of the Premiers approached me and asked for a special meeting.”

Molly Ticehurst, 28, was allegedly murdered by an ex-partner in Forbes. Emergency services found her body at a home in the central NSW town after being called to the property around 1.50am on Monday, April 22.
Molly Ticehurst, 28, was allegedly murdered by an ex-partner in Forbes. Emergency services found her body at a home in the central NSW town after being called to the property around 1.50am on Monday, April 22. Credit: GoFundMe

He added that the cabinet will be discussing “practical measures we can take to make a difference on this issue” but that it is not something that can be solved “overnight”.

The PM is right that there is no quick fix. There is also not one simple solution.

Misogyny and male violence are insidious and we all have a part to play in calling out such behaviours and helping support those in need.

But, more than anything, what our nation needs is strong guidance and reassurance.

We need to know we are in safe hands. Because at the moment, it feels like we are all on the losing team.

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

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