Domestic violence policy to form cornerstone of Aussie opposition's election campaign
by Matt Walsh
CANBERRA, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Australia's opposition Labor Party has announced that a new domestic violence policy will be one of the cornerstones of its next federal election campaign, declaring that it will legislate that victims can take up to 10 days of paid domestic violence leave every year.
Announced on White Ribbon Day on Nov. 25, a day which raises awareness for the prevention of men's violence against women, Labor said that victims should be encouraged to take time away from work to seek medical or psychiatric help if they are a victim of domestic violence.
Speaking about the policy on Sky News on Tuesday, Shadow Employment Minister Brendan O'Connor said that domestic violence was a "national scourge," declaring that Labor would make it a "universal workplace right" for employers to offer a minimum of 10 days for domestic violence leave.
"Forty-five women have been killed this year alone as a result of domestic violence. It's terrible," said O'Connor.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor had listened "to victims, front-line workers, business, and organizations that deal daily with domestic violence" in coming up with the policy.
"Their clear message is that people who have experienced domestic violence need more support in the workplace," Shorten said.
Also in a statement released on Tuesday, Greens MP Adam Bandt applauded Labor's policy, but urged Shorten that there was "no need to wait" until the next election considering that such a bill would pass through the Parliament with ease.
"Ten days of paid family and domestic violence leave for all workers is long overdue and we can legislate it in this Parliament," Bandt said.
While speaking at a breakfast in Canberra commemorating White Ribbon Day, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has urged Australians to be aware of the growing role technology is playing in enabling domestic violence.
He announced that the government had partnered with telecommunications company Telstra to create a program aimed at helping victims who are abused through the use of technology and social media.
"Technology, with all of its wonders, has its dark sides. It can be used and is used by perpetrators to continue to undertake violence by harassing, tracking or stalking them," Turnbull said.
"In addition to a new program which will distribute 20,000 smart phones to victims, we are providing training to front-line services to help domestic violence victims to use their smart phones safely, and make sure it's not a conduit for threats and violence."[ Editor: meng ]