Federal Labor MP Anne Aly has opened up about her experience of domestic violence as she pushes for more action on the issue.
Dr Aly says it has been difficult for her to talk about the murders carried out by Ms Clarke’s estranged husband Rowan Baxter in Brisbane last week, because she is a survivor of domestic violence at the hands of her former spouse and father of her children.
She made the observations in a personal column in The West Australian on Tuesday, a day after Parliament reflected on the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children.
“I have known men like that. Men who see their partners and their children as their possessions and nothing more,” she wrote.
“Abusers who explode with rage when their power is taken away and they can no longer control their partners.”
The MP said she had followed “age-old” advice passed down on how woman should deal with such violence.
“Advice that warned me not to be rash and that cautioned me that leaving my husband and provider would make me destitute — not to mention unattractive and alone,” she said.
“I’ve been patient. I’ve stayed. I’ve nursed my bruises and I’ve hidden my pain. And I’ve stayed silent. For a long time I stayed silent. But no more.”
Dr Aly said no amount of talking will stop domestic violence.
Australia needs a national campaign that will reach into every home with the clear message that such violence is a criminal offence and will not be tolerated, she said.
Women who want to leave violent relationships also need support, including safe housing, she said.
“Despite all the pain and abuse I suffered, leaving the father of my children was the hardest decision I have ever made,” she said.
“Until we start taking action on domestic violence, nothing will change. Words and gestures in parliament are nice but they don’t solve problems or create the urgent change needed to help women today.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said countering domestic violence was a priority for his government every day.
The federal government continues to implement the fourth national domestic violence action plan and the issue will be raised at a COAG meeting in a few weeks time.
“This issue doesn’t know politics. It just knows that there is hurt and pain and tragedy and devastation to families and every day addressing that is a priority for me and my government,” he told reporters.
Dr Aly’s revelations come as Labor frontbenchers Penny Wong and Kristina Keneally demand men’s rights activist Bettina Arndt be stripped of her Order of Australia following comments about the murders of Ms Clarke and her three children.
The opposition senators will move a motion on Tuesday condemning Ms Arndt’s “reckless and abhorrent” comments.
“The values that underpin Ms Arndt’s views on this horrific family violence incident are not consistent with her retaining her Order of Australia,” the senators said in their motion.
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