You would think that 18,000 domestic violence incidents in South Australia in one year (that is almost 50 per day or one every half hour) would ring alarm bells loud enough for even our part-time Attorney General to hear. You would think that Premier Weatherill’s statement of the bleeding’ obvious that domestic violence is a “massive issue for our State” would prompt our part-time Attorney General to put aside his other eight portfolios for at least a minute or two and apply his undoubted skills to doing something positive and effective about this crisis.
But if you thought that, you would be desperately wrong.
In his recently announced policy initiatives to help the battered women and children of this State, how much funding did he devote to support groups for women and children in need? Not one cent. How much was devoted to psychological, psychiatric and medical care for the victims of this violence? Not one cent. How much was to be diverted to assist child psychologists to help mend the damage done to the most innocent of all victims, the children? Not one cent. How much was to be devoted to establishing sufficient properly resourced crisis centres so that women and children in danger had a safe refuge to run to? Not one cent.
What did we get instead? We got the spectacle of our part-time Attorney General congratulating himself on the release of, wait for it, a discussion paper! To which the many thousands of people waiting for someone, anyone, to do something effective, cry out in unison “thanks for nothing”. What is even more astonishing is that much of this discussion paper contains proposals that even the part-time Attorney General has no confidence in, saying “There are things in there which I personally think won’t work, for various reasons, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a conversation about it because I might be wrong.”
Can’t you just hear the sighs of relief across the State? We’re going to have a conversation! Whoopy do! What is it with male politicians? Why do so many of them fail to understand the urgency of the situation, that the time for conversations, discussion papers, part time solutions and navel gazing is over? It is time to act. It is time to stand up to this social cancer and devote our full attention to it, the attention of a full-time Attorney General and the undivided attention of a Parliament with too much spare time on its hands. As a great Labor leader once said “It’s Time”!