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Benefit of doubt – what the Minister for Women doesn’t say

If only the Minister for Women would tackle family violence with the same gusto he trumpets against terrorism, writes Jennifer Wilson.

In his desire to distract the general public from the depth and breadth of the country’s increasing contempt for him (with the exception of Gerard Henderson, bless) Prime Minister Tony Abbott has resorted to the good old conservative standby and fear in an effort to somewhat fancifully reinvent himself as the nation’s protector.

As part of this cunning stunt (no doubt thought out by someone in his office I’m not naming anyone), Abbott announced that anyone perceived to be a potential terrorist would no longer be given the benefit of the doubt.

Immigration and Centrelink have been touted by the PM as two possible areas for increased scrutiny. That is, don’t admit possible potential maybe somehow some day terror suspects in the first place. Failing that, it is incumbent on someone behind the Centrelink counter to exclaim “Oh my! Immigration missed that this person might potentially possibly somehow maybe some day somewhere be a terrorist and I must not give him/her the benefit of the doubt even though Immigration did, damn their eyes, and I’m not giving them any welfare and I have now foiled a terrorist attack”.

Man Haran Monis, perpetrator of the Martin Place Lindt Cafe horror, passed through both Immigration and Centrelink. He was also well-known to police in matters of domestic violence for which he was on bail, and there were a string of allegations of the sexual assault by him of some forty women.

Strangely, we have not heard the Minister for Women Tony Abbott once mention that anyone who perpetrates domestic violence ought to be noted as a potential terror suspect, and definitely not given the benefit of the doubt.

If Immigration and Centrelink are to be burdened with the task of identifying potential terror suspects and withholding the benefit of the doubt, why not police who are at the front line of domestic violence allegations?

Of course, the idea of expecting either Immigration or Centrelink to have the capacity to assess a potential terrorist is ludicrous, as is my suggestion that police assume terrorist potential in every person they arrest for domestic violence.

What is interesting, however, is that Abbott did not even go to the latter option, which out of all of them makes the most sense in a triad of bone-achingly senseless options. Obviously, no agency has the capacity or the training to identify terror suspects unless they are so bleedingly obvious as to have already embarked upon their ghastly vocation.

The number of ways in which the Minister for Women avoids the topic of domestic violence are spectacular. What other Minister in any government ever in the history of Western democracy has remained so consistently silent on his portfolio and kept it?

This article was first published on Jennifer’s blog No Place For Sheep.

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14 comments

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  1. Pingback: Benefit of doubt – what the Minister for Women doesn’t say – » The Australian Independent Media Network | winstonclose

  2. diannaart

    Imagine if domestic terrorism (which is what I experienced every time I went home to my then husband) was included under the umbrella of ‘terrorism’? WOW. We’d have to empty our jails of druggies just to accommodate them.

    (Of course any mention of domestic abuse/violence includes that perpetrated by women on men.)

  3. CMMC

    He was also mentally ill, which should have been dealt with as part of Court process in his prosecutions.

    Abbott and Credlin know this, but…..demonize the mentally ill as ‘monsters’ ? Hey, its all good.

  4. Blanik

    Yes Diannaart, ‘they’ never mention that. I – and my daughters – experienced the same domestic terrorism of whicht you speak until I left her and gained custody of my girls.

    (Message to myself:- Enough Graham – STFU) haha

  5. Aortic

    Ah the old national security chestnut! The last bastion of a desperate blithering fool.

  6. CMMC

    This ‘Death Cult’ that Abbott keeps talking about is actually an emerging nation. The new Assyrian Empire, if you will.

    Far from wandering around and killing at random, they are very much focused on their own territory.

  7. diannaart

    Blanik

    Solidarity for all survivors of abuse, brother.

  8. Kaye Lee

    Every experience in life, good or bad, teaches us things. It is up to all of us to learn, and survivors are often the best teachers. I am so sorry that so many people endure such torment while societal reform moves at a snail’s pace.

    Those that think language doesn’t matter, like our Attorney General and Human Rights Commissioner for Freedom, do not understand the brutality that can be inflicted by abuse from parents, partners, peers, teachers, colleagues, employers, strangers. To ask the vulnerable to “not allow themselves to become victims”, as Julie Bishop did, is arrogant ignorance spouted from a life of privilege.

    There will always be bad people, many of them victims of previous abuse or wrongdoing, some who are ill, some who circumstances have driven to the edge, and others who are just plain mean or whose own inadequacies drive them to control others with physical violence.

    The standards we walk past are the standards we accept and it is up to all of us to help protect each other. I commend those who have had the strength to survive and to act to make things better. We need to help those who do not have the same courage or opportunity and to condemn bullying and abuse at all levels. Every one of us must say…

    It stops with me.

  9. paul walter

    Jennifer Wilson of course points to a monumentally obscured or denied endogenous problem, domestic violence, hidden behind the Happy Families facade of tabloid TV sitcoms, news services,etc.

    Equally uncomprehended is the violence done millions of third world people through Western Terrorism , or State Terrorism, eg Iraq, the exogenous side of the coin as to Western Civilisation, which is the marriage of technology and the Naked Ape and its traits, at an early stage of evolution.

    Abbott stands at the forefront of a tendenciy that denies both forms.
    For that ilk, its all too black arm band, let’s have more Brady Bunch through to Gilead at home and heroic “Khartoum” like stands against the dark forces of the evil “other”, offshore.

  10. stephentardrew

    I have no doubt about a loss of benefits for all those in difficult circumstances.

    By now we should realise they just don’t care.

    Having worked in DV housing I know that many women have continuously been neglected and denied support for one bureaucratic reason or another including insufficient housing support..

    No more than excuses to limit assistance and save a dollar to be hived off to their corporate mates.

  11. Win jeavons

    Nothing terrifies me more than the blind , out-moded, inequitable ideology of this (mis) government . No evidence based policies, predictions that are valueless in the absence of understanding climate change , or peak resources of basics such as water, good soil, healthy communities, human and other life forms . And, yes, violence on women, or by other dysfunctional persons on anyone nearby, is far more serious in this land. When will the popular media wake up to the real Australia ?

  12. RoaminRuin

    I’d forgotten he’d appointed himself Minister For Women. How could that be so easily forgotten?

  13. Annie B

    Good article from Jennifer Wilson.

    Many observations in comments are also great.

    One that struck home was this ( from Kaye Lee ) :

    “There will always be bad people, many of them victims of previous abuse or wrongdoing, some who are ill, some who circumstances have driven to the edge, and others who are just plain mean or whose own inadequacies drive them to control others with physical violence.”

    “Some who are ill”

    Police in this country ( not necessarily their fault ) are largely inadequate to deal with potentially disastrous situations. They have not been educated about domestic violence vs. possible overall threat to a community by way of terrorism, they have not ( obviously ) been taught to call on others – e.g. trained marksmen from the military, who know what weapons are what, and which weapons would be better used to lessen the possibility of unwarranted death ( in the case of the Lindt cafe horror ). And they CERTAINLY have not been trained to question if a person is mentally unstable, and is acting out of control because of it.

    ( I am not sure if police are cautioned to NOT get involved in domestic violence situations here … I think maybe the victim has to make formal complaints for anything to happen – which is something else that should be addressed ).

    The shooting of a young woman with Aspergers syndrome in Sydney recently, underscores all this. “She was wielding a knife” … and no one can POSSIBLY tell me that the police would not have been able to stay far enough away, to escape any threat she may have imposed, while manouvering themselves to disarm her. There were enough cops there to do just that. And I was under the impression they are trained to disarm. ?? …. Instead they went for their guns – firing twice.

    On Correlation between Asperger Syndrome and Violence

    That’s just ONE thing the current Prime Monster could address … more intense education in the police forces, and a back up of psychologists / psychiatrists to assist in any openly dangerous situation, faced with someone with possibe mental illness, someone high on [ bad ] drugs, and someone who is ‘cornered’ and knows no better than to fight his / her way out ( often of the criminal element ).

    But will Scabbott do this ? – of course he bloody won’t. !!

    Because the PM of this country doesn’t REALLY give a tuppenny stuff. …. He is all about deflection, in it’s infinite array. … And while he is in this mind-set, absolutely NOTHING will be done to address any violent or mental illness situation that might be taking place. Especially he won’t take responsiblity for overseeing the lessening and control of domestic violence.

    And yes – anyone who is dragged away from the domestic violence situation ( man OR woman ) should not be automatically given the benefit of the doubt to begin with. They should be put through the system – much the same as anyone who steals $10,000 from an employer is. Oh boy – they jump on THOSE from a great height, don’t they. ???? ….. Money !!!

    A rotten situation all round ….. and – – – I hope never to see reference again, to this idiot as “Minister for Women” … what a gross insult it is, that he created and coined that portfolio (????) for himself.

    Bad ? ( read – Scabbot ).

  14. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    Tonight’s Qanda was magnificent. Some veiled references to the Minister for Women who will probably never benefit from watching this program and its excellent discussion by a panel including the Australian of the Year.

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