By Sarah Gerathy
The new MP for the Blue Mountains, Trish Doyle, has given a gutsy maiden speech to the NSW Parliament detailing how her life has been touched by domestic violence and mental illness.
The Labor politician, who won her seat from Liberal Roza Sage at the March election, revealed that when she was growing up her mother was in a violent and abusive relationship.
Ms Doyle spoke in the third person as she described in graphic detail one particularly horrific night.
“Picture another place in another time, a young girl awake and afraid in her bed trying to still her racing heart and holding her breath,” she said.
“A man stands at the foot of her bed, with one finger on his lips… and the other holding a rifle,” she continued.
“There are shrieks and screams and gunshots. The night erupts. The night becomes one of ambulances, police, sobbing, fear and eventually the delivery of four young children to an orphanage of sorts, where they will stay for a while as their mother recovers from the emotional and physical trauma of a severe beating and internal haemorrhaging.”
Other MPs gasped when Ms Doyle revealed “that small girl of eight is now the woman that stands before you”.
Ms Doyle said understanding domestic violence and its impact on children had been part of her lifelong work.
She also told Parliament that her personal experiences had driven her to become a passionate advocate for mental health too.
“My husband’s depression spiralled into a psychotic episode and mental illness turned our lives upside down,” Ms Doyle said
“Everything one knows and plans for, the routine and order of life, everything changes when families deal with chronic mental illness and either attempted or successful suicide.”
“It is a lonely, devastating and anxious place to be.”
She said she would use her position in Parliament to push for reform in the health system, so that those living with mental illness and their families would be better supported.
This post originally appeared on ABC Online and was republished here with full permission.