WHITE RIBBON DAY

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS         (         17:19         :30         ):  Firstly, I would like to thank the eight members of this chamber—it is probably not unprecedented, but it is certainly unusual for as many people as that to speak on a non-controversial matter—who have spoken on this debate, and also the others who have supported me in putting this motion without wishing to speak. I mention in that regard, obviously, the Hon. Mr Hunter and the Hon. Mr Gazzola, who were responsible for me first being involved in the White Ribbon movement, so I thank them for that.

I was also very pleased that, for a significant portion of the debate, the Leader of the Opposition in another place, Mr Steven Marshall, was able to be in the President's gallery, because last year he also became a White Ribbon Ambassador and I know he supports the White Ribbon movement very much. I think it is a great movement, because it is increasing public awareness about these matters. It is increasing the consciousness of the community to make sure that we avoid that traditional silence.    

We have an opportunity to make sure that the younger generations do not get into the habit of that silence that has plagued the generations that most of us come from, and it is not just about domestic violence; obviously it is about mental health issues, it is about suicide and it is about sexual abuse. There was this attitude that if we do not talk about it, if we push it back there behind us, it will go away.    

We know darn well that does not happen in any of these matters, and it is certainly the case with domestic violence. I am heartened in that regard by the increasing number of younger men in recent times who have become involved in White Ribbon, and it is important that more of that younger generation take charge of this work. However, I think it is also important that we, as members of parliament, make sure that we engage many more people in the community.    

I know that you, Mr President, have shown a commitment to it and I think it is important that we, not only as members of the community but also members of parliament, make sure that that message gets out: that White Ribbon is a very important movement, that it does very strongly stand up against domestic violence against women, but it also stands up very strongly against silence about those matters. With those few words, I commend the motion to the council and once again thank the large number of members who have contributed or have provided private support to me on this matter.