“Decisive” government delays while domestic violence victims suffer

Despite promises it will be “decisive”, the Brumby Government has further delayed acting on recommendations made by the Victorian Law Reform Commission in December 2005 to provide better protection for domestic violence victims.
Instead the Attorney-General, Rob Hulls, has issued proposals for legislation for community consultation and will not make final decisions until later this year.

This delay is despite the fact that the government asked the Commission in 2002 to investigate domestic violence, and has had almost two years since the Commission gave its report to the Attorney-General in December 2005 to consider the recommendations and undertake necessary consultation.

In the meantime, an estimated 150,000 domestic violence victims a year are suffering without improved protection.

It is clear that Victoria’s new “decisive” Premier, John Brumby, is continuing the Labor Government’s habit of making announcements about “looking into” matters rather than actually making decisions.

“If the government felt it needed further input on the Law Reform Commission’s report, it should have issued its proposals for legislation a year ago,” Shadow Attorney-General Robert Clark said.

One of the measures being re-announced today is an initiative put forward by the Liberal Party in 2003 to allow interim intervention orders, applying for up to 72 hours, to be issued by police. These measures would remove alleged offenders from the home immediately to protect the victim or other family members from further harm.

However, the government is not going to introduce “safety notices” until mid-2008, and then only under a “trial program”.

“It is typical of this Labor government that it has taken almost four years to pick up on a policy put forward by the Liberal Party in 2003, and then to take a further year to actually implement the policy, and only on a trial basis,” Mr Clark said.

“While the government now waits for the community feedback it should have been seeking a year ago, it should at least legislate to introduce the interim intervention orders it has already announced and which the Liberal Party committed to in 2003.

“The Liberal Party would be happy to debate and pass that legislation when Parliament next sits next week,” Mr Clark said.