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Review into the Family Violence ACT 2016

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

When the ACT Greens and ACT Labor formed their coalition, they published a media release.[1] Fittingly, on the list of things they said they would focus on, governing with integrity and transparency is last on this list.

During the campaign, I met many people who were traditional Labor voters who were disillusioned by the actions of this government. Some decided to vote Liberal, some decided to vote Green. The actions of this government in relation to this review is a severe let down to anyone who hoped a stronger Green voice in this coalition government would bring more honesty and integrity to the table.

Consider these facts:

- The Green attorney general only released this review into legislation that is supposed to protect some of our most vulnerable when his hand was forced by a Freedom of information request.

- The JACS website says that they were “pleased to publish the final report of the review of the family violence act”[2]. If they really took so much pleasure in publishing it, why did it take so long for them to do it? And why, despite this review being handed to the Government a year ago, did they only publish it 8[3] days before they published the report through the FOI?

- Even after being forced to release the review they are still digging in their heels and not tabling the review with the Government’s response. It is true they are not legally required to do this but considering the Greens policy of “a clear presumption of proactive disclosure[4]” they are ethically obligated to publish the Governments response.

Mr Rattenbury had this to say about the review “The findings are clear and spelled out in the paper… we will now follow through and make those considerations[5]”. What does that even mean? What does the Minister mean when he says, “we will now follow through and make those considerations”? It almost sounds like he will follow through with the recommendations but that’s not really what he said. What it does sound like is a non-committal response.

We already know that when the Government has a report with findings and recommendations, that they can drag their feet with their response and implementation. In fact, Mr Rattenbury’s response to a finding in a review of the AMC way back in 2018 still hasn’t been completed.

The government must commit to a public timeline for when they will table their formal response to the review including what legislative reforms will be undertaken and when the recommendations will be implemented by the last sitting in June 2021 for the sake of their integrity and most importantly for the sake of those who participated in this review and for those most closely affected by family violence.


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