The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women is concerned that family violence is a symptom of a much broader issue of gender inequality.
Senator Michaelia Cash said on Sunday that widespread disrespect of Australian women by men was contributing to domestic violence.
“When you don’t respect a woman, when you don’t respect a young girl, it is very, very easy to use violence,” Senator Cash told Sky News.
The National Community Attitudes Survey on Violence (NCAS) released in 2014 showed one in four young Australian males thought using violence against a woman was acceptable.
“When you have attitudes in 2015 like that, that is something that the federal government can play a role in addressing, and that is exactly what we are doing,” Senator Cash said.
Her comments came as a litany of tragic headlines were reported across the nation last week, including a fatal shooting of a female victim, the death of an alleged female victim of domestic violence and the alleged stalking of a woman by her machete-wielding male partner.
Journalist and social commentator Lisa Wilkinson and Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese denounced the seeming “epidemic” of male-on-female attacks.
“This country is in crisis. Real crisis. Domestic violence has reached epidemic proportions. And this is all happening against a backdrop of shelters being closed, and helplines losing funding,” Ms Wilkinson posted to Instagram on Friday.
However, Senator Cash said the government could not achieve “long term cultural change” alone and a holistic approach was required.
“Every single one of us has to say ‘enough is enough’, we believe in gender equality.
“Men and women boys and girls are equal, end of story.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has called on the Prime Minister to “show some leadership” on the issue by convening a national summit to address the domestic violence crisis.
Ms Palaszczuk told the Nine Network a national approach was needed to address the rising number of deaths caused by violent partners.
“Governments across the nation need to come together, which is why I believe it is important that we have a national crisis summit about this issue because we need to see what are the best practices in each and every state,” Ms Palaszczuk said.