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The war at home

TONY ABBOTT: If we’re honest, most of us would accept that a bad boss is a little bit like a bad father or a bad husband. Not withstanding all his or her faults, you find that he tends to do more good than harm.

While Tony Abbott spends billions on his war on terror, he has slashed funding to the real terror that so many Australian households face on a daily basis.

In Victoria alone, police were called out to 65,393 domestic violence incidents in 2013–14 – twice as many as in 2009–10. Of those, almost 30,000 were serious enough for police to press charges. Last year, 66,326 domestic violence incidents were reported in Queensland – a 13% increase since 2012.

Despite this growing epidemic of domestic violence, this government wants to make it more expensive to leave an abusive partner.

Yesterday, it was reported in the SMH that the Abbott government will try to raise divorce fees for the third time in an attempt to help restore the Family Courts’ finances.

With their usual negotiating finesse, the government has previously threatened to cut frontline services, close registries and not to replace retiring judges if higher fees were not maintained, saying they were necessary to keep the Family and Federal Circuit Courts financially sustainable.

They now need to convince six crossbench Senators to change their minds to get the fees passed in the next sitting period in September. With their recent success in stopping wind turbines, I wonder what the crossbench may have promised in return.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that this government is only paying lip service to addressing domestic violence.

In the last federal budget, the only new funding was $16.7 million over three years for a National Awareness Campaign to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children.

Community pressure forced a temporary reprieve from the previous budget cuts with funding to the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness and to community and Indigenous legal services extended for two years. Their future beyond 2017 remains uncertain.

Many of these legal services are already stretched to their limits. A&TSI incarceration rates continue to be a national shame and with the government maintaining their restrictions on legal advocacy, the capacity for legal services to work with communities to decrease legal problems is diminished.

In 2014, 1800RESPECT – the national 24/7 crisis line for sexual assault, domestic and family violence – responded to 54,853 contacts but left 18,631 unanswered. This means that one-quarter of contacts made to that service were not responded to when someone called for help. If the awareness campaign increases the volume of calls, who will answer them?

Thousands of NSW school children will lose access to a vital domestic violence education program and support service after the federal government axed its funding. The award-winning REALskills program, which has run successfully for 12 years teaching more than 7000 high school students about healthy relationships and domestic abuse, was axed by Scott Morrison.

Colleen Dowd, manager of community projects at the Family Centre at Tweed Heads, said it was difficult to understand the logic behind the decision to axe the REALskills, when no other service had received a grant locally, to replace it.

“The thrust of our program centres around arming young people with relationship-related skills as well as building up their resilience, ability and knowledge to connect with support services when they need them,” she said.

She said the service also featured early intervention work with students, identified by the schools, as needing support. “Through face to face interaction with service providers in schools, the youngsters are realising it’s not so bad to reach out and talk…whether that be about family violence, their own mental health problems or issues of engagement at school. But it is all about to go.”

Morrison also cut $2.4 million from specialised family violence programs that work with men to end their violent behaviour towards family members.

Last year, the government unveiled its Indigenous Advancement Strategy to streamline Indigenous funding into five categories: jobs and economy, children and schooling, safety and wellbeing, culture and capability and remote Australia strategies.

Of the successful applications in the last round of funding of the Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy, over half were granted to large non-Indigenous organisations before the funding round had actually opened.

Funding applications for programmes such as the Thumbs Up program, run by the Jimmy Little Foundation and geared around nutrition for young Aboriginal people, and the Djarindjin Safe House, a women’s shelter servicing 50 communities in Northern WA, were rejected despite the vital work they do.

The safe house was built at the Djarindjin community, 200 kilometres north of Broome, in 2014. The project was driven by local women, who had themselves been the victims of domestic violence and wanted to find a way to protect the younger generations.

The Federal Government contributed $500,000 towards setting it up and provided $180,000 for running costs.

Manager Dawn Thompson said lives would be put at risk by the funding cut.

“To be honest, we were shocked, because this is an essential service,” she said. “Since we opened, we’ve provided a safe place for 60 women and children, so it’s something that’s badly needed.”

Djarindjin Community Council chairman Brian Lee is furious.

He said the safe house project aligns perfectly with the Federal Government’s stated aims of promoting community safety and local employment, and they have been given no explanation of why their funding application was unsuccessful.

“We’re in the situation of telling four or five women that after a month, they don’t have a job,” Mr Lee said.

“And if it’s not funded, we have to tell the women who come here to be safe that we can’t help them anymore, that we cannot keep them safe, all because there is no funding to the safe house running.

These are just a few examples of successful programs that have had their funding cut.

There has also been alleged coercion in making some funding applications for Aboriginal Health Organisations contingent on that organisation being able to show support for the Government campaign to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution.

It is a very worrying trend that this government silences advocacy, makes funding dependent on compliance, and takes no advice about where funds would be best invested. There is no recognition of prevention measures or the necessity to change the culture starting with our kids. It appears they are not interested in the continuation of programs geared around self-determination.

Instead of more bombs for Syria, how about some funding for the frontline services dealing with the war at home.

 

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33 comments

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  1. Harquebus

    Unless Tony’s corporate masters can make a profit from it, you can pretty much forget it.

  2. keerti

    A possible response from our dear leader,”If women didn’t try to go to university and fill up places that should only be a male preserve, such as medical and legal, then their husbands wouldn’t need to punish them. It takes two to twist,cha cha,rumba….oh f…k! I just shit my budgie smugglers. Pyne, can’t we just stop making places available for women in universities? I’m the most effective minister for women australia has ever had. Even if I have o say so myself.” He stops here to wipe his chin…..

  3. FERGOLO11 (@FERGOLO11)

    Hm the esteemed author neglects to mention that the newcomers to this country ie the same race brands as the terrorists are responsible for most cases of domestic violence – also responsible for the more than doubling of rape and sexual assault in Vic since 2001. Incidentally rape and sexual assault had been steadily declining until the third worlders started swarming in in.large numbers lol
    But lets just pretend it isnt really happening or even better blame white people!

  4. corvus boreus

    FERGOLO!!,
    Thank you for sharing the perspective and opinion of a seemingly open and avowed white ‘nationalist’ (lol).

  5. FERGOLO11 (@FERGOLO11)

    Hey Harq baby, its liblabs corporate masters who are firmly rooting for the third world immivasion lol, l guess they get off on watching the rape fest / white genocide he he

  6. keerti

    Really? To make a claim like that fergolo, you’d need to provide some adequate references to statistics, otherwise you are about a relevant to reality as “dear leader.”

  7. corvus boreus

    keerti,
    Does the melanin challenged ethno-supremacist (racist nut-job) seem interested in providing credible corroborative details?
    (‘lol’, ‘he he’)

  8. Kaye Lee

    Ignoring the uglier side of FERGOLO’s rant, there are several barriers to culturally diverse women accessing domestic violence services, including language, a lack of culturally appropriate housing, social stigma around domestic violence in their culture and a lack of knowledge that the services even exist.

    Once again, it comes down to funding and education. Perhaps if FERGOLO had had more support in his/her life he/she would not harbour such feelings of anger and would be more receptive to factual information from credible sources about what works to help achieve solutions to a problem that occurs in all groups in society. He/she might even be able to offer suggestions about how we help vulnerable people and how we change the culture of anger and hate and superiority.

  9. Michael Taylor

    Hm the esteemed author neglects to mention that the newcomers to this country ie the same race brands as the terrorists are responsible for most cases of domestic violence

    And where is your evidence for this?

  10. FERGOLO11 (@FERGOLO11)

    Its a pleasure Corv, whites are the only people not allowed to embrace group identity – l.know you already worked out multiculture means less white people but somehow the multiculture policy isnt anti-white – l know its not logical but if you straight jacket your thinking you can get it to sound perfectly reasonable that whites are quickly becoming.minorities in their own countries lol

  11. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    There is also the option of attempting to dilute some of the various religious and cultural attitudes that tend to promote continuing attitudes of sexual discrimination and female subjugation.
    For starters, we could stop using public money to disproportionately subsidize schools (mainly from various religious sects) that indoctrinate children in the dogma that god has a dick and menstruation is a punishment.

  12. Michael Taylor

    I just spent ten minutes trying to find out if newcomers to this country are responsible for most cases of domestic violence. Surprise surprise – I couldn’t find it. The best I could come up with is that 7.5% of female victims of DV were born in non-English speaking countries.

  13. FERGOLO11 (@FERGOLO11)

    Since most of the domestc violence perps and rape perps are non-white plainly its racist to even talk about domestic violence!

  14. Michael Taylor

    You talk a load of shit. Seriously.

  15. Kaye Lee

    There are many causes for domestic violence – alcohol and drug abuse, gambling, poverty, alpha male dominance, sexist views of a woman’s role. There can be a cultural element.

    Recognising the causes is one aspect. Providing solutions is another. Despite the best efforts of people like FERGOLO, we are a multicultural society – in many respects a very successful one, or at least we were until Pauline Hanson and Tony Abbott unleashed the hounds.

    If there are sections of our society who need help then it is our failing if we are not providing it.

    Prevention is always better than cure so we must educate our children to know that it is not ok to say your female colleagues have “sex appeal” or to say to the sole female apprentice “you must be popular” or to ask people to vote for you reminding them that you are the one with the “good-looking daughters” or to say to adolescent netballers “nothing wrong with a bit of body contact” or to lasciviously wink when a pensioner is telling you how hard it is to survive. It is not ok to scream abuse at your opponents. It is not ok to use violent language. It is not ok to threaten people to make them submit.

  16. John Armour

    “whites are quickly becoming.minorities in their own countries lol”

    That’d be the great southern land of Terra Nullius?

  17. Ruth L

    Thank you Kaye and Michael.
    You help to restore some sense of balance in a seemingly Abbott madness infected world.

  18. mark

    The statistics l cited are FACTUAL – do.your own research. White genocide is FACT, your own eyes will verify there are less and less white people and more and.more non-whites – the policies that are bringing this about are deliberate and obviously calculated to do just that – reduce whites to.minority status. This is not positive for whites as a racial group and does not bode well.for whites long term survival. It is perfectly legitimate to be concerned about white survival, even chinese and black.people have expressed concerns about white survival.

  19. Florence nee Fedup

    Michael, can’t recall where I read it, but I am sure it is native born that contribute the greatest numbers to DV.

    This is only anecdotal, but I do know, working in South West Sydney as a District Officer, most of my clients child abuse and DV were not among the migrant community.

    I am talking about Liverpool/Campbelltown area.

    With the majority being migrants, one would have expected much higher numbers.

    Sadly, it is not so true for children of migrants born here.

    Remember, this is only anecdotal.

  20. Möbius Ecko

    “whites are quickly becoming.minorities in their own countries lol”

    Jeez FERGOLO11 have you taken the effort to look up why, and indeed why whites are slowly but surely disappearing world wide?

    Hint. It has nothing to do with immigration and everything to do with the choice of the whites themselves. Most are openly and willingly choosing to breed out their skin colour.

  21. Florence nee Fedup

    One of the biggest changes I have seen in my lifetime, is people willing to form mixed marriages and relationships. Rare when I was young. In fact I know of one country town, where all but one minister refused to marry such people.

    My kids are fifth generation Caucasian Australians. My numerous grand and great grand-kids can no longer say this.

    Backyard barbecues, see people from most cultures. This nation is much better for it.

    In the merge, we seem to take the best from each culture.

    It makes one truly Australian.

  22. Florence nee Fedup

    Yes Kaye, the white Australian Caucasian culture of a mateship and man being king in his own home, contributes to DV. Helped along by what happens in the home, stays in the home, back up by being the woman’s responsibility to ensure it did.

    if that didn’t shut the woman up, she got this great one. You made your bed, lay on it. Yes, it was all the woman’s fault, no pity given.

    Yes, our culture sure plays a part.

  23. donwreford

    I live by my own other than living with my dog, what is difficult for me to understand is what is going on with these situations of violence? although we are informed as to it being alcohol or drugs and so on this is not giving us a insight as to why a individual should be addicted? if our society is demanding increases in costs that wages are not keeping up with? as is commonly heard the rich are getting richer whilst the poor are getting poorer? then this is a problem of a society not facing the problems of a society that is dysfunctional in economic security for the individual? also on the media is promoting winners and those who are successful and this may not reflect the reality of what many or some are experiencing?
    In some relationships I have had some of the problems I have had is I have been accused of being in bad faith? this is not what I am experiencing about myself? on the contrary I have found just the opposite that is the other person is not in good faith, the sort of problem that arises is where a partner has a superiority complex and thinks they are so much better? I may not have friends who are in big time money nor power, but I am not predisposed to think I am a inferior because of this on the contrary to some extent I value spiritual aspirations over worldly success, considering we do live in a society that places a high if not the highest value on making it as far as money is concerned becomes a problem that most of Western societies have, by this I do not think that if the individual has no money for the basic necessities of existence is a desirable condition for the individual to face.
    Another consideration is if the individual has not the ability to use language to a sufficient level to describe or communicate ones self or another as fair comment of assessment or evaluation will become a problem for many, cultural conditions of conditioning can become a major problem such as demonizing a race or another culture, in the main Australian news does make a good contribution as such besides other media interpretations.

  24. corvus boreus

    Its certainly not helpful to the cause of lessening the regularity and degree of male violence upon female’s for a national ‘leader’ to state that (paraphrased) ‘this idea that it is a woman’s absolute right to refuse sex…needs to be moderated’.

  25. Kaye Lee

    Calling the female SRC President “chairthing” because it so rankled him to be beaten by a woman is a minor indication from early days. There is no way he could show her respect. He says it was silly and childish and 35 years ago. His treatment of Julia Gillard and Gillian Triggs is the contemporary “adult” version.

  26. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    There have been many Tony Abbott sexist remarks, but his one on right of refusal still stands out for me.

    The full quote;
    “I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think are both, they both need to be moderated, so to speak.”
    March 19, 2002.

    This goes beyond the fact that his statement reinforces the opinion that he has warped and patronising ideas on gender roles (where males make demands, and females give or ‘with-hold’).

    As the law currently stands, there is an absolute right of refusal to participate in unwanted sex acts for both genders, and no legal right (absolute or other) of access upon demand for either gender.
    Tony Abbott’s comment indicates that he seeks a relaxation of our current laws concerning sexual assault/rape.
    That is seriously worrying.

  27. Kaye Lee

    Many many things about Tony are seriously worrying. Sharing with the nation his advice for his daughters that their virginity was a “gift”, refusing to approve the morning after pill, finding homosexuality “threatening”. He is so out of his depth in any form of rational decision making or social functioning – he has to refer to others be they the IPA or the Catholic church or Gina and Rupert or the Tea Party.

    “Stupidity combined with arrogance and a huge ego will get you a long way.”

    – Chris Lowe

  28. Möbius Ecko

    Peta Credlin. You forgot Peta Kaye.

  29. Kaye Lee

    Peta built an advertising campaign around a strawman standing in quicksand. So many people, particularly other feminists, tell me I should respect her. I have no respect for a person who builds a power base on a tissue of lies. The world would be a better place if we shipped all spin doctors to Mars – or better still, if we had honest politicians who saw no need for misleading advertising.

  30. Kate M

    “The world would be a better place if we shipped all spin doctors to Mars – or better still, if we had honest politicians who saw no need for misleading advertising.”

    Indeed. Better. And Richer. $4.3 million a year alone just for Abbott’s Truthiness peddlers. I’m betting if we got rid of Abbott’s Truthiness Department we could probably fund most of the programs that were cut in your article above…

  31. Florence nee Fedup

    Problem Abbott has same views proved by comments he has made over the years that have never changed, never matured. Abbott, the boy man.

  32. abbienoiraude

    Whenever discussions start on DV the question inevitably arises: “What is the cause?”
    The first ’cause’ is usually alcohol.
    I am tired of ‘the cause’ of domestic violence being sidelined to a substance and not the responsibility of a (usually) male partner.
    It isn’t alcohol illicit drugs poverty ie things outside the human person. The cause must be spoken about starting with attitude.
    Attitude in our society toward women. Attitude of men to their own place in our society and what is expected of them especially in relation to women.
    Attitudes that are laughed about teased out to demean little boys who don’t like sport or those who have female friends or don’t find sexually demeaning jokes about females amusing. So many subtle cues make little boys into swaggering teenagers with a sense of position in the male lead society. Attitudes that bleed into the expectations and understandings of what is an Australian male.
    The last ’cause’ that is not spoken about very much is the influence of the parents on the young. How the boy perceives from his father how he should behave toward the woman he may love one day by observing his father’s treatment of his mother. Same as girls watching how you as a woman can expect to be treated by a man who says he cares for you.
    The last ’cause’ not mentioned much is personality disorders. I seperate this from ‘mental illness’ inasmuch as mental illness can be treated. With personality disorders (eg narcissism, control disorders, ) combined with anger management issues unless the person can admit to their attitudes and behaviours being abusive or unhealthy they cannot be ‘treated.’

    The subtlety of domestic violence being perpetrated by someone who slowly over time manipulates your every decision your every move your every plan who you speak to where you go what you spend money on (even if YOU have earned it)…over time it ‘feels’ normal. The emotional, psychological and financial abuse is complete. It is only a matter of time til things are thrown or a slap occurs.

    Women are dying.
    Australian women are dying.
    Dying inside emotionally dying before they are finally murdered.
    And what does the Conservative side of politics do?
    Firstly under Howard they gave the abuser rights over the children.
    Now Abbott cuts funding to help, support, give rights for women to leave safely. The first 3 weeks of leaving is the most dangerous for the woman and her children.
    How to leave when you have no money nowhere to go no way of planning no one to turn to.
    With a Prime Minister like Abbott women are stuck.
    Stuck and being murdered.

  33. Florence nee Fedup

    Alcohol is often blamed for DV, My experience proved that these men can be more vile when sober.

    Blaming drink, is masking real causes.

    One could say, cause is found in Australian and many other cultures. Where is is seen as men being the boss, superior to women.

    Removing alcohol without addressing the problems that lead to people drinking in the first place leads nowhere.

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