Australian of the Year Rosie Batty has called for continued vigilance in the fight against family violence, saying that things will possibly get worse before they get better.
Speaking at the Brisbane launch for her co-authored book, A Mother’s Story, Ms Batty noted her emotions over the announcement of the national $100 million Women’s Safety Package, which she attended earlier that morning in Melbourne.
Ms Batty said she recognised the hard work that she, and others, had done was starting to take affect, despite doubts about whether their message would ever be heard and acted upon.
“It’s been an amazing year to fully embrace this issue and to make sure this problem is finally getting a hearing,” she said.
“But we cannot take our foot off the pedal for one moment, we have to really seize the day, and keep pushing.”
Ms Batty has addressed thousands of people at more than 250 events, traveling on the speaking circuit for almost 18 months and working in close partnership with different advocacy and industry groups, turning her story of personal grief into a nation-wide conversation about family and domestic violence.
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Commending the federal government’s approach to the funding package, Ms Batty said that the discussion around family violence as a gender issue was significant, and that the Prime Minister’s words about respect for all women should be aspired to across Australian culture.
However, she cautioned against believing that the current initiatives were enough to combat the epidemic.
“It still falls short, no doubt. It still isn’t enough, no doubt. There’s still so many things to do, no doubt.”
“We do have to understand that this is an issue that belongs to all of us, the solution rests with all of us, and we have to look at what we can do personally to help.”
Ms Batty also paid her respects to the recent tragedies across the region, reminding those in the audience that on average, two women a week have been murdered this year.
“I am very aware, as is the rest of Australia, how bad it has been in Queensland just recently,” she said.
“My heart goes out, and I know how it feels.”