Waleed Aly's call for domestic violence funding in this year's budget may have been too late. Photo: The Project
Minutes before Joe Hockey delivered last night's budget, The Project's Waleed Aly made an impassioned last-ditch plea to the government to show they take Australia's domestic violence crisis seriously by making the funding of its eradication a priority. Unfortunately he may have been too late.
Amid all the stakeholder groups hoping to get a slice of Hockey's budget humble pie, Aly said he wanted to put his hand up "for a group of Australians who might be unable to. Or are too afraid to, or when they do ask for help, they're too often turned away."
"I'm talking about the 18,631 people whose calls went unanswered last year when they called 1800 RESPECT. That's the hotline set up to provide a counselling service for victims of domestic violence. They reached out and were turned away."
Aly also said he was putting his hand up for the 450 homeless people turned away from shelters each night, many of whom are women and children fleeing violence, and the "more than 150,000 desperate people turned away from community legal services last year when they needed help."
He also said he was putting his hand up for men who settle arguments with their fists, those who engage in psychological torture, and especially, those who have murdered their partners at a rate of one every five days this year.
"I'm putting my hand up for funding for these guys because these guys need help."
Despite these calls for the crisis to get some serious funding, domestic violence barely rated a mention in last night's budget.
Australian women killed by male violence in last 12 weeks = 25 = $16M Aussies killed by terrorism in last 12 years = 2 = $450M #budget2015— Kon Karapanagiotidis (@Kon__K) May 12, 2015
This morning, Today host Lisa Wilkinson pressed Joe Hockey as to why he had only allocated a "meagre" $30 million to domestic violence services, most of which would be going to awareness-raising campaigns rather than the hotline or frontline services such as women's refuges. She questioned whether Hockey had his priorities right in allocating $1.2 billion to counter-terrorism measures when the statistics of Australians affected by terrorism are minuscule compared to women affected by domestic violence.
The Treasurer couldn't understand the comparison, but he made this assurance to everyone can relax: "We have put in the budget additional money which we have not announced last night."
Stay tuned, it sounds like they'll be making domestic violence funding a priority after all.
For support and information about suicide prevention or domestic violence, contact:
Lifeline on 13 11 14
National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732
Other guidance and support resources for women can be found here.