WHITE RIBBON FOUNDATION OF AUSTRALIA
The Hon. JOHN ROBERTSON
[12.00 midnight]: Tonight I speak on an important issue and organisation: domestic violence and the White Ribbon Foundation of Australia, for which I can proudly say I am one of 400 ambassadors. The New South Wales Government is a strong supporter of White Ribbon Day, and I am proud that Premier Nathan Rees is also a White Ribbon Day ambassador. In fact, since 2007 the New South Wales Government has provided $130,000 in funding to the White Ribbon Foundation to assist it in its activities to eliminate violence against women. The White Ribbon Foundation of Australia aims to eliminate violence against women via the promotion of a change in culture around the issue of domestic violence. The major objective for the foundation is to educate the community through initiatives such as White Ribbon Day, which was held yesterday, and through leadership programs aimed at men and boys around Australia.
The foundation is a not-for-profit organisation and all funds received support the implementation of various strategies that work towards achieving this objective. One of those strategies is the white ribbon ambassadors campaign, of which I am a proud supporter, as I previously mentioned. As a white ribbon ambassador I get involved in the campaign in many ways, such as wearing a white ribbon throughout the month of November in the lead-up to White Ribbon Day and encouraging others to do the same; promoting public interest by talking with colleagues, friends and family about the campaign; and talking about my role as an ambassador in as many situations as is possible and, in particular, when attending public engagements. I encourage other members in this place to look at becoming an ambassador and doing the same.
Yesterday I, along with Dr Andrew McDonald from the other place, was fortunate to take part in the event Cycle to Break the Cycle, which was being run on behalf of the White Ribbon Foundation and the Benevolent Society by a group of women who each share a passion for cycling as well as wanting to raise money and awareness for the elimination of violence against women. Cycle to Break the Cycle was first held on White Ribbon Day two years ago, in 2006. This year they aimed to raise over $20,000 from the event. The name "Cycle to Break the Cycle" came about as the aim is to break the cycle of domestic violence. It is a cycling relay challenge where more than eight teams competed yesterday in Martin Place. This was a great event, and I congratulate everyone who took part and got involved, as well as the event organisers.
The impact of domestic violence on families and the emotional, social and financial effects that the issue has on communities has been heard by the New South Wales Government. The New South Wales Government is committed to working to reduce domestic violence within New South Wales through investments such as $40 million in improving responses to domestic violence across all government agencies and making sure that the victims of domestic violence are given the support they require. The New South Wales Government is rolling out five key projects, including Staying Home Leaving Violence, the Domestic Violence Integrated Court Model and the Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Tool. These projects are central to the Government's commitment to prevent domestic violence, to intervene at the earliest possible time, to effectively support women and families, and hold offenders accountable for their actions.
This strategy is statewide, and includes a network of nine senior regional coordinators in the NSW Police Force. The Police Force is also rolling out 40 new domestic violence specialists to be located around the State. Yesterday I saw many members of Parliament wearing a white ribbon—I congratulate them on doing so. But let us remember what White Ribbon Day represents: that violence towards women is unacceptable, that violence against women is not something that is supported or condoned within our community, and that we as elected representatives intend changing attitudes and spreading awareness that violence against women will simply not be tolerated. In the words of Kofi Annan in March 1999:
Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful of human rights violations.
Lets us all ensure that we continue to support and campaign on this most important issue.
Question—That this House do now adjourn—put and resolved in the affirmative.
Motion agreed to.
The House adjourned at 12.05 a.m. Thursday 27 November 2008 until 11.00 a.m. on the same day.