News National Rosie Batty: society will take decades to change

Rosie Batty: society will take decades to change

Rosie Batty.
ABC
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The past year should have been the most special and life-changing time for Rosie Batty.

For the most part it was; as Australian of the Year she set about changing a culture towards domestic violence.

She was the catalyst for a royal commission into family violence in Victoria, and addressed tens of thousands of people at events across the country.

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Every single day, Ms Batty dealt with the loss of her son Luke, who was murdered by his father in 2014.

The Australian of the Year sat down with ABC TV’s News Breakfast to discuss her year in the role.

“It’s been really incredible and life changing. It has superseded any expectation I could possibly have had,” she said about being Australian of the Year.

“What it has done is given me the opportunity to immerse myself, distract myself, feel passion, feel a sense of purpose, meaning and direction, that I would never have had if I didn’t have this opportunity.”

On changing culture, Ms Batty said it started with awareness.

“What I said in my [Australian of the Year] speech was that I wanted to take it from being a topic that was behind closed doors and make it a topic that we discussed openly. We’ve started to have those deeper conversations,” she said.

“It’s going to take several decades to change society, it’s not an overnight thing, but we’ve now started. I don’t think we’d started in earnest before.”

Going forward, Ms Batty said systems in preventing family violence were still not in place.

“We still cannot guarantee safety, we still have a broken systemic response, I still cannot say the best thing to do is call 000 because I’m not confident we have the support available,” she said.

When asked about her life now, without son Luke, she said there were still moments when it would just hit her that he wasn’t around, but she was doing well.

“We have always put the responsibility on a woman’s shoulders rather than insisting that society changes and stops being violent towards women,” she said.

“I think I’m remarkably well for someone who has recently had their son murdered. There are moments in every day where it hits you.

“Sometimes it’s when you’re at your happiest, because I’ve got these mixed bag of feelings.

“The year I’ve just experienced, for any other reason would have been the most special, exciting, life-changing year of my whole life, but it was because Luke died.”

Ms Batty said for her, a polical future wasn’t on the cards – but she wouldn’t rule it out entirely.

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