Prime Minister Scott Morrison is committing A$78 million to protect women and children against domestic violence, in a Monday speech with the theme of “Keeping Australians safe and secure”.
The money includes $60 million - over the next three years - in grants for organisations to provide emergency accommodation for those escaping family violence.
The government says the program will build up to 450 places and help up to 6,500 people annually. It will be structured to get contributions from other levels of government and from private sources.
The other $18 million (over the forward estimates) will go to the Keeping Women Safe in their Homes program, which provides security upgrades and safety planning for women and children who need protection.
“We can’t ask women and children to leave dangerous homes if they have no place to go. And where it is safe, women and children survivors should be helped to remain in their homes and communities,” Morrison says in his speech, an extract of which was released ahead of delivery.
He foreshadows more initiatives to deal with what has come to be a central issue for the Australian community. “We have also listened to the front-line workers and survivors throughout the consultations this past year.
"That is why one focus of our measures to be announced soon will be on prevention - on changing attitudes to violence, and on helping those who think violence is an option to stop,” he says.
In his wide-ranging speech covering foreign, local and personal security issues and risks, Morrison says the government has shown “the mettle to make the right calls on our nation’s security”, including by
- repairing Australia’s borders
- investing in the defence forces
- deporting violent criminals
- taking on domestic violence
- disrupting terrorist attacks, and
- restoring powers and resources to police, security and intelligence agencies.
Morrison says the government’s plan to keep people safe and secure “builds on our achievements and addresses the new and emerging threats we face as a country, as communities, families and individuals.
"These threats are both external and domestic.”
He presents a long list: “Regional tensions between the world’s great powers; heightened global instability; stiff headwinds facing the global economy; foreign interference; radical Islamist terrorism; people smuggling; natural disasters; organised crime; money laundering; biosecurity hazards; cybersecurity; the evil ice trade; violence against women on our streets; online predators and scammers; cyber-bullying of our children and elder abuse”.
Our plans and actions are designed to degrade, disrupt and destroy the impact of these threats to our nation’s security.
The government sees the issue of security, in various forms, as a political strength for it. The security plan follows Morrison’s recent speech outlining an economic plan including a commitment to the creation of 1.25 million jobs over five years.
Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra