We need to change behaviours and attitudes so that we stop violence before it starts. Our country must become a place where every woman feels safe and can live free of fear. That’s what freedom is. That is every woman’s right. But it is far from every woman’s reality as we know.
Right now, too many Australian women do not feel safe and too often, they are not safe and that is not OK. There is no excuse, and sorry doesn’t cut it. They are not safe at home. They are not safe at work. In broad daylight, you are not safe. In public space, you are not safe. You are not safe.
Here in this place, even this place where I’d speak to you from today, are not always safe, and what started as a conversation about long-standing and serious failings in this very workplace, in this Parliament House*, turned into a conversation, necessarily, about women’s experience is everywhere. It is not a new problem and it is not a simple problem. But Australia does have a problem.