Jamie speaks in Parliament on women's refuges

"Services that deal with women in crisis should never be thrown into crisis. As a White Ribbon ambassador I have sworn to do all that I can to prevent family and domestic violence and sexual assault. That is why I have been disappointed by the disruption, the stress and the impact not only on staff in women's refuges and on homelessness services across the State but also, importantly, on the clients of those services. In my view, the Going Home Staying Home reforms have undermined the advances feminism has achieved over the past 40 years.

"I have worked hard in my electorate to support and defend women's-only specialist services and to support those services in my electorate—services such as Detour House, the Young People's Refuge, Elsie Women's Refuge and Stepping Out. It is a tragedy that every staff member at Elsie Women's Refuge—the first women's refuge in Australia that was formed 40 years ago—were discarded and are no longer employed by that service. Because of these reforms all that expertise, care, love and experience are gone.

"I acknowledge the role of the Minister in restoring funding for inner-city refuges. The lobbying and campaigning that have occurred as a result of these petitions have encouraged, cajoled and finally pushed this Government into making the right decision to restore funding. I acknowledge all those who worked so hard on this campaign including the No Shelter Group that has convened many rallies and actions that I have attended and at which I have spoken, and SOS Women's Services. In particular, I make mention of Kate Timmins and Roxanne McMurray from the Leichhardt Women's Health Centre who has provided invaluable service on these issues and who has represented clients and our community with great vigour and integrity.

"This model may well be rolled out in drug and alcohol services in other areas. I make it clear that this is not the way to introduce such services. The Greens are committed to ensuring that women's specialist services—women's services run by women for women—are defended. Much work needs to be done across this State to support these services. These refuges have been run by women because gender-based violence requires a gender-based response. I will continue to speak out in favour of these services not only in my electorate but also across the State, to ensure the retention of these women's services and to ensure that family and domestic violence is a relic of the past."

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