Thursday, 5 February 2015

Australian of the Year 2015 politely calls out the 'Prime Minister for Women' on his hypocrisy with regard to domestic violence

On or about 17 September 2013 then Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott announced that he would hold portfolio responsibility for policies and programs targeting women.

He was sworn in as Prime Minister on 18 September that year.

Sixteen months later and his ongoing poor record in this area is there for all to see.

Women’s Agenda 2 February 2015:

Australian of the Year Rosie Batty has criticised Tony Abbott for promising to take real action to tackle family violence while at the same time slashing funding to family violence services.

After Batty was appointed Australian of the Year last Sunday, the prime minister announced he would be implementing new measures to fight domestic and family violence. 

On Tuesday he announced he would create a new national advisory panel on domestic violence and appointed Batty and retiring Victorian Police Commissioner Ken Lay as its founding members.

He also announced he would elevate domestic and family violence to an urgent agenda item for the Council of Australian Governments. He said he would urge the Council to agree on a framework for a national domestic violence scheme. 

But Batty has said that these announcements are meaningless unless Abbott takes action to reverse the cuts he has already made to crucial domestic violence services. 

She said it is hypocritical for him to make announcements about new frameworks and approaches when the cuts already in place are so damaging to domestic violence victims.

She said when compared with Abbott’s newfound public stance on family violence, the existing cuts are “contradictory”.

"It is a double standard, it is contradictory and totally undervaluing the part that these workers play in our front line services," she said to the Prime Minister’s office on Friday.

The cuts she refers to are to family violence services as well as homelessness and crisis accommodation services across the country. Altogether, the cuts are worth $300 million. Several services across the country will be forced to close after having their federal funding slashed or even removed in its entirety.

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