Meet the politicians opposing domestic violence together.
By Tim Watts on behalf of Andrew Broad and Ken Wyatt.
What does it take for politicians from different political parties to stop fighting and start working together towards a shared goal?
For National MP Andrew Broad, Liberal MP Ken Wyatt and myself, it was our community’s failure to stop the weekly deaths women at the hands of their partners or ex-partners in our country.
Like many Australians, 12 months ago I didn’t know much about men’s violence against women. Then, in April of last year, a woman was murdered in my electorate. Police allege that Fiona Warzywoda was stabbed to death by her partner, in front of her children, at lunch time on the main street of a suburb in my electorate. At the candlelight vigil that followed, you could feel the sense of shock in the community.
It was a wake-up call for me. I’m ashamed to say that before this I was unaware of the prevalence of men’s violence against women in our community. I didn’t know that around one in five women have experienced violence from a current or former partner. I didn’t know that over 17,000 family violence intervention orders were issued in Victoria alone in 2013/14. I didn’t know that around one woman a week was killed by a current or former partner in Australia – a figure that has grown to two a week so far this year.
After meeting with the advocates and service providers who have been working in this space for decades I was embarrassed. I thought about all of the women I loved and respected in my life -friends, family, work colleagues. I thought about what many of them must have experienced, might still be experiencing. I thought about what my daughter might experience in the future. Then I thought, “This is why I got into politics”. Things need to change and I need to be a part of it.