Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called on all Australians to make a “cultural shift” and stop disrespecting women, declaring that gender inequality lies at the heart of domestic violence.
In comments that have been labelled a “gamechanger” for the fight against domestic violence, Mr Turnbull called on parents, teachers and employers to get on board the culture change, saying he wanted Australia to become known as a country that respects women.
“I’d say that as parents, one of the most important things we must do is ensure that our sons respect their mothers and their sisters,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.
“Because … violence against women begins with disrespecting women. And so this is a big cultural shift.”
This year alone, more than 60 women have been killed by a partner or family member.
“Violence against women is one of the great shames of Australia. It is a national disgrace,” Mr Turnbull said.
He also said it should be “unAustralian” to disrespect women.
“Let me say this to you: disrespecting women does not always result in violence against
women. But all violence against women begins with disrespecting women,” Mr Turnbull said.
The Prime Minister made his rallying cry while announcing $100 million in federal funding to help stop violence against women.
The package, which was signed off by his new cabinet earlier this week, includes funding to trial GPS trackers for perpetrators, special safe phones for victims and other measures – like CCTV cameras – to boost the security of women at home.
There is also additional funding for Indigenous family violence services, 1800 RESPECT and MensLine and a program which teaches school students about respectful relationships.
Domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty, whose has advised on the reforms was emotional on Thursday at their launch.
“We finally are starting to hear from the leaders of our country that they are addressing this issue, that they recognise the responsibility they have to lead our society, our communities, by speaking the language we need to hear,” the 2015 Australian of the Year said.
“We have still a long way to go, but by recognising the gender issue that exists … that sends the message far and wide.”
Minister for Women Michaelia Cash described the emphasis on respect for women as a “gamechanger”.
The Abbott government was due to make a major announcement on domestic violence at the end of the week that Tony Abbott was dumped from the leadership.