Reception in Support of White Ribbon’s Campaign to End Domestic Violence against Women
Your Grace and Dr Aspinall; Directors-General; Commissioner; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. Dame Quentin Bryce was at Government House earlier today, and she asked me to pass on to you all her apologies for being unable to attend tonight’s event due to an understandably conflicting schedule.
Kaye and I welcome you all warmly to Government House today.
Our guests include representatives of White Ribbon Australia, of the Queensland Committee, and White Ribbon supporters from government and the private sectors, including those from organisations of which Kaye and I are proud to be Patron – and there are many of you.
We are here in the South East, but the problem is a State-wide problem, and it is particularly significant to have our regional representatives here tonight.
I read at the weekend that over the last year, 798 Queensland defendants were charged with 894 counts of non-lethal strangulation – almost 75 charges a month. Now these are of course but charges.
But where are we headed? A small segment of our own people no doubt, but that it should persist is simply shameful and shocking for us all.
In September 2015 I was driven, myself, to release a statement on domestic violence. The burden was this: the fact that we have even to say this – that domestic violence is a destructive species of violent crime that must be resisted, rejected and eliminated – defies belief.
But, regrettably, it has to be said and reiterated with courage and conviction: as often, as publicly, and as robustly as possible.
And the more often it is said by men, including by high-profile men in our communities, the better.
I am grateful for the presence of such men here today, positive role models, and in the broader ranks of the White Ribbon Ambassadors.
The White Ribbon organisation stands at the vanguard of our community’s efforts to rid ourselves of this scourge.
The organisation’s work covers the whole spectrum of anti-domestic violence activities, from awareness-raising and knowledge of how to respond, to individual instances of domestic violence, right back down the causal chain to preventive programs for boys at school.
I join with White Ribbon in encouraging communities to do everything in their power to challenge attitudes and behaviours that seek to engender, encourage or excuse violence against women.
May is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so this is an excellent time for us to elevate the profile of the issue – something White Ribbon Australia does with great energy.
But, of course, community effort to counter violence against women goes on, must go on, every month, every day of the year – as the intimidated woman would say, please, every minute.
I thank you all for showing your support for White Ribbon Australia today.
I thank the organisation’s executive, staff, ambassadors, partners, and other supporters for exhibiting that courage and conviction of which I spoke earlier.
I pledge Kaye’s and my unstinting support. We will do whatever we can.