Address to the White Ribbon Day Breakfast, Melbourne

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OECD Presents a Favourable Outlook for the Australian Economy
November 29, 2005

Address to the White Ribbon Day Breakfast, Melbourne






Well thank you Kerry. To Senator Robert Kemp, Bruce Billson, the young and

famous Senator Kay Patterson – we have known it all these years Kay. It

is wonderful to be here. To Anj. You really are a remarkable and courageous

person. And to make a statement out of the personal tragedy as happened to you,

goes a little way to redeeming some of the evil, and let us hope that out of

your suffering, many other Australian young women will not have to go through

what you have gone through. Thank you on behalf of everybody here.

White Ribbon Day is a chance to say no to violence against women. Violence

against women occurs in every society. Every culture around the world. But where

it is tolerated less it is practiced less. Violence against women will not be

tolerated here in Australia. We want that message to be unambiguous. We need

to make it very, very clear to men, in particular. It is not permissible. Not

even to a little extent. It is not fair. It is not right. And it is not excusable.

Where violence to women gets practiced over a long period of time, particularly

within a marriage or domestic relationship – it can imprison a person. After

a long history of abuse sometimes women can be fooled into thinking that they

have contributed to it. That it must have been their fault. Maybe it was something

that they said, or did. But it never is. And one of the problems of long patterns

of abuse is that the victim becomes a prisoner of the perpetrator. And they

need people to speak out on their behalf, to remind them that this is not normal,

nor is it right, nor is it acceptable, that it does not have to be that way,

that it should not be that way, and that it can not continue to be that way.

They need friends and they need supporters. And they need clear support from

society to help them to escape that imprisonment.

I want to particularly thank some of the AFL and Rugby League footballers who

are here this morning. We all know there has been a focus in recent years on

football clubs in our society. Now, not everything you read in the paper is

true. That is the first principle of public life. But there have been some reported

incidents that have not reflected well on some individuals. Let us be careful

here, I am not talking about all clubs or all people in all clubs; just one

or two individuals; isolated individuals. I think it is important that the leadership

of those clubs make it clear that this is not a culture, and it will not be

tolerated as a culture in our sporting organisations. Whether you like it or

not, and you probably do not like it, you do become role models in our community.

And if you are going to be role models, become role models for good, rather

than the other way around.

So I think on a day like today when Australia says no to violence against women,

it is important that we have people of sporting ability, people from the services

– and I welcome people from the services, the Australian Defence Force that

are here today – people in public leadership positions, families, boyfriends,

husbands, neighbours, who can all join together and make clear what we all know:-

that violence against women is wrong. It is not part of Australian society.

We never want it to be part of Australian society, and we will join together

to do what we can to prevent it from occurring. And I say to Kay, and to you

and to your Department, congratulations on this campaign. I think it is an important

campaign. I think it is beginning to get into public consciousness with your

advertising campaign, with grants to local groups to develop their own campaigns,

with Anj telling her story which is such a big part of it. And let us reinforce

that message throughout the community to those that we know. White Ribbon Day

– the 25th of November – Australia says no to violence against women.

Thank you all for attendance here today.