On the 6th of May we remember those who have died because of family violence.
Vigils began in Queensland in 2005 with the 15 member organisations of the Queensland Domestic Violence Services Network (QDVSN) hosting candle lighting ceremonies to show the community's steadfast support for the families who have lost loved-ones to family violence.
This Wednesday I will attending the vigil in Brisbane. As my candle shines light into darkness I will be thinking about the loss of too many women to family violence. Too many women, so many stories.
But as my candle flickers in the darkness I will focus on hope.
Hope that this year is the year that will deliver urgent momentum in our national politics to proclaim meaningful action to change the chilling statistics that 34 women have died this year alone through family violence.
Hope that now the Prime Minister and State and Territory Leaders have collectively pledged to support action on domestic violence, governments can stop talking and leap to act on domestic violence.
Hope that whilst we have such an amazingly brave Australian of the Year in Rosie Batty, we will listen to survivors of family violence understanding that it happens to 'everyone and anyone'.
Hope that the cultural shift is taking root with Australian men to end violence against women as demonstrated through the White Ribbon Ambassadors standing up to take leadership roles.
Hope that the focus on family violence will shift the victims to recognise that the core problem lies with the perpetrators who commit the acts of violence.
Hope that the whole community is starting to question: what is it that leads to men committing violence against women?
Hope that more employers provide appropriate leave so that one more barrier will be removed for women to leave an abusive relationship.
Hope the resilient domestic violence support service workers I meet, will have funding to deliver their critical front line services to ensure no victims will become homeless, they will not have to go to court alone to ask for protection for herself and her children.
Hope that amazing people will stay amazing by energising their goodwill into creative action such as the one million stars project whose goal is to build communities free from violence.
We remember and we hope.
The strength and goodwill to make sure an Australia where women and children are safe is bipartisan with all governments.
In June, a Senate Inquiry into Domestic Violence is due to report on its findings. The Inquiry was set up because of concern about commonwealth government funding cuts to a broad range of services essential to supporting victims of domestic violence. At the inquiry we have heard of the impact on recent cuts to legal services, cuts to housing support services, cuts to financial counselling services that help victims of economic abuse and cuts to frontline family violence support services.
This inquiry has highlighted the acute need to listen to family violence victims and their support workers as to what coordinated additional judicial and social service reforms are needed.
Earlier this year Labor called on the Prime Minister to hold a National Crisis Summit on Family Violence and announced a $70 million interim package of measures to make sure women get the legal support they need and have somewhere safe to go.
Labor is committed to considering a range of policy approaches to prevent family violence and recognise the need for national leadership. It is why we established the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children 2010-2022 to bring together all governments in a long term strategy for this cause. We welcome ongoing government support for this Plan and genuine cross party engagement.
Events for Remembering the women and children who have lost their lives to family violence on 6 May:
ACT 6th May, 5:45pm for 6pm start at Stage 88, Commonwealth Park
VICTORIA Shine Bright Candle Light Vigil on Wednesday 6 May 2015 at Federation Square 5.45 for 6 pm start.
QUEENSLAND Brisbane 6th May, 5:30pm Cultural Forecourt, Southbank
TASMANIA 6th May, 5:30 pm at Franklin Square, Hobart
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 7th May, 5:30 to 6:30 pm, Elder Park at the Rotunda, King William Rd, Adelaide
SYDNEY 6th May, 11am - 12 noon. Flower laying at Parliament House, 6 Macquarie Street Sydney (further enquiries)