Marama Davidson - Domestic Violence - Victims' Protection Bill - Second Reading

I rise to support with pride the second reading of the Domestic Violence—Victims' Protection Bill.


I will start with the acknowledgment and tautoko to the many members across this whole House, not the least from the Opposition benches, who have been singing, rightfully, my colleague, Jan Logie's, praises, because this is her member's bill.

I quote the Opposition MPs saying, "No one can challenge her focus or her sincerity on this matter of domestic violence, and for ensuring that there are supports for all people impacted on by domestic violence, and for understanding that we have a responsibility to stamp it out from our society." But what people have not focused on so much, especially from the Opposition benches, is that she also understands the evidence and she has the smarts to put this legislation through, because this is coming from her lifetime commitment, dedication, and passion to this work, her dealing with front-line agencies and organisations at all levels, and her deep, profound understanding of exactly what victims and people go through when they are facing domestic violence. So it's not simply about her sincerity; it's not simply about her dedication—she knows this stuff and she knows what works. So I wanted to make sure that I put that right up front.

What does this bill actually do? This bill is going to make sure that people affected by domestic violence have up to 10 days extra leave to be able to deal with the effects of that violence, and that a victim of domestic violence can rearrange their working arrangements—so it could be working in a different location, it could be changing their working hours to make things easier to be able to deal with the extra stress, damage, and harm of domestic violence. It also looks at changing the onus of having to provide personal contact details, which we know can also put people at risk. A lot of people are having to put themselves in a situation where they cannot be found, because it is unsafe or where it is too risky for someone to know where they are and to be able to find out where they are and track them down. We know how absolutely critical safety of contact information is. So these are the sorts of amazing positive steps that we can take right now to improve workplace legislation.

I was also relieved to find out that this bill proposes that under the Human Rights Act there would be a protection for a person affected by domestic violence from discrimination, protected from discrimination in employment—quite specifically and quite named, actually named. As someone who has come from 10 years of working with Human Rights Commission I specifically welcome that proposal in the legislation. So that's what the bill does. That's what the legislation sets out in writing, but what does it actually say for us as a country? It says that we take this matter seriously. It says that we're going to do things immediately and that can make such a massive difference into the lives of people who are suffering and being harmed by domestic violence.

This is the second reading and so I have read through some of the submissions. I was also the chief panellist on the Owen Glen inquiry into domestic violence and child abuse, and I understand deeply and sadly—I understand only too well exactly what happens when someone is faced with the stress of having to deal with the harm from domestic violence but also the stress of having to hold down a job, and I understand the absolute appreciation that one would hold when their employer has been able to make allowances. This is the very sort of bill where we can make that massive change.

So I was proud to take a short call tonight to celebrate this step that we are going to make together in this House, alongside many other steps, to end the culture of violence and abuse in our country, but this is an effective step that we can take together right now that also makes sure that we understand that employers and workplaces are a part of our community. They are a part of health and safety and welfare, and this is a brilliant way, an evidenced way, a way that has been shown to work overseas that we can get on to this important work, alongside changing the culture of violence and abuse in this country. I am so proud of standing alongside Jan Logie and this member's bill. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.