Dead women should not be political pawns

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PAWN: Tony Abbott used domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty to boost his flagging image, while still cutting vital women’s services, according to Jenna Price.It’s January 2015. Tony Abbott is in deep hot water.This time it’s about announcing Prince Philip – that renowned old bigot – as a knight. The pushback from ordinary Australians is huge.
Nanjing Night Net

It even surprised me. I assumed it was only me furious with a scion of privilege for reintroducing these honours. Turns out it was everyone, even in Abbott’s own party.He turned to the one person he thought could redeem him. He turned to Rosie Batty.

A few days earlier, Batty had been named Australian of the Year. No one had heard of this Victorian mother until her son Luke was murdered in February 2013. Her extreme poise and resilience blew Australians away. For eight months, she campaigned hard on family violence and, for once, Australia seemed to be sitting up and taking notice.

The then prime minister had a meeting with Batty on Christmas Eve 2014. Peta Credlin, his chief of staff, was also there. He asked Batty what she thought might be a solution to the poisonous problem of violence against women and children.From that moment, there was little contact. Until Abbott was in deep trouble with the electorate. His decision to turn the focus away from his grovelling desire to suck up to royalty was done at the last possible minute.

Some have even described what happened in those few days as an ambush.The prime minister’s office rang Batty at the height of the public relations disaster that was the garlanding of the Duke of Edinburgh; and sources say she was summoned to a press conference possibly even as late as the morning of his announcement about the advisory panel on violence against women.He used Batty to deflect attention from his own incompetence.

Since that moment, Abbottoversawthe deepest cuts to essential legal services for women trying to escape family violence. He oversawobscene cuts to Indigenous funding. Heglibly responded to each and every discussion about the rate of family violence in Australia by suggesting real men don’t hit.

Just to make this very clear to all politicians across all parties, Australians are devastated by the level of violence directed towards women. This year alone, Destroy The Joint’s campaign Counting Dead Women counts the toll at 62 – and in the vast majority of those deaths, the woman knew her accused killer. Last week alone, three women were killed in 24 hours.

Abbott wasthe one who was weak and gutless, allowing his ministers to slice, slice, slice from services that protect those women he pretends to want to protect.

Last week, Our Watch, funded by the federal government and some state and territory governmentsto drive cultural change in the behaviours and attitudes that lead to violence against women and children, handed out inaugural awards on exemplary reporting covering those issues.

I’m proud to say that Counting Dead Women and Fairfax’s Shine A Light campaign were both given awards – and I’m honoured to be part of both of those teams. But I was utterly appalled at Senator Michaelia Cash’s speech beforehand where she said that Australia had turned a corner on the issue of domestic violence.

She said that at the end of 24 hours during which three women had lost their lives to violence. She said the media had a responsibility when it came to reporting on violence against women.

Yes, Senator Cash, we do. But governments have the money and the power.Don’t use dead women and children as a pawn in your bid to hold power.

– Jenna Price is a Fairfax Media columnistThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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