MP’s response to Hannah’s murder: ‘Nothing is off the table’
Foreign Minister Marise Payne has said "nothing is off the table" as the federal government looks at new ways to tackle domestic violence after the tragic death of Hannah Clarke and her three children.
Ms Payne also took aim at men's rights activist Bettina Arndt as calls grow for her to be stripped of her recently-awarded Order of Australia honour, saying her comments on the incident were "absolutely outrageous".
Following the horrific murder of the Queensland mother and her children, Ms Arndt congratulated Queensland Police for "keeping an open mind and awaiting proper evidence, including the possibility that Rowan Baxter (Ms Clarke's estranged husband) might have been 'driven too far'."
"They (the comments) are totally unacceptable. There's no way that we can accept language that's ever trivialises or distorts the reality of domestic violence and murders like this. Every single one is an individual atrocity," Ms Payne told ABC radio"
"But I would say that in relation to the order of Australia, the council is an independent body. It's up to the council as to whether an order should be rescinded in any case."
Ms Payne's comments follow bipartisan support in the Senate on Tuesday for a Labor motion to recognise Ms Arndt's remarks as "reckless" and "abhorrent".
The Foreign Minister described domestic violence as a "national challenge", adding funding had increased in recent years.
"But still we see these awful, awful events," she said.
"So I'll be working very hard with my colleagues in the coming weeks to look at what options there are for us to pursue further actions in this area.
"Nothing is off the table in terms of what we need to look at."
Ms Payne said there still needed to be changes in attitude around domestic violence, but added there had been significant advances across the past two decades.
"There needs to be changes in attitudes that suggest that violence of this nature is an acceptable solution to two intractable human relationship problems," she said.
"That is a fundamental misconception of how society should work. It's a hurdle for communities. It's a hurdle for individuals, it's a hurdle for families.
"And it's a conversation that has changed immensely in the time that I have been in parliament. Twenty years ago, we would never have been able to have the discussions that we have today because and you and I both know these sorts of things were kept hidden in communities, in suburbs, in country towns, because people were embarrassed and there was stigma attached to it."
She said the federal government had been working "in a much more co-ordinated way" between the states and territories since the Gillard Government initiated the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.
"We support new and expanded emergency accommodation, training for frontline workers, a whole range of things," she said.
"So working in every way we can together is obviously a national obligation on us as parliamentarians, as ministers, as leaders."
'WE HAVE FAILED': LEADERS UNITE AT VIGIL FOR TRAGIC HANNAH
Yesterday, a federal Queensland MP told a vigil for Hannah Clarke and her three children that Australians want to do more to tackle domestic violence.
Terri Butler, who is Ms Clarke's federal representative, said the country had seen so many deaths as a result of family violence.
"There risk is we become habitualised and then fail to be shocked," Ms Butler told politicians at Parliament House in Canberra tonight. "I know that we all want to do better." People sung Amazing Grace as they lit candles for Ms Clarke and her children - Laianah, Aaliyah, and Trey - who were murdered by her former partner Rowan Baxter.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was important to remember their victims and who they were.
"All of that was taken from them in a murderous act of violence which none of us here can comprehend," he said.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese hoped the brutal murder marked a turning point. "We have all failed, particularly men have failed, the women and children of this country," he said.
Greens co-deputy leader Larissa Waters said words were not enough and parliament needed to take action.
"We here collectively can fix the system and make sure that it doesn't fail anybody else," Ms Waters said.
The vigil comes as some MPs stress the need for domestic violence to be on the agenda constantly, not just in the aftermath of major tragedies. Earlier on Wednesday, Labor MP Anne Aly, said it was crucial the issue continues being tackled long after Ms Clarke's death.
"I want to make sure that this stays on the agenda - that we don't just talk about this at that critical point where we are mourning lives lost," Dr Aly told reporters on Wednesday.
She said there are a lot of women who will be wondering if they're "going to be beaten black and blue tonight".
"I say to those women, we see you. And we know you," she said. On Tuesday, Dr Aly spoke publicly for the first time about her experience of domestic violence at the hands of her former partner.
Fellow Labor MP Linda Burney, who led Wednesday's ceremony, said what women needed when they were escaping a domestic violence situation was certainty and practical outcomes.
"They need a place that is safe to go to. They need to be financially secure. They need to understand that there is support out there," she said earlier on Wednesday.
If you or you know of somebody in need of help, due to problems at home, phone 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) Lifeline 13 11 14.