THE QUESTIONS I AM ASKING THIS AUSTRALIA DAYJanuary 26, 2016
WHERE did you spend Australia Day? Beach? Barbecue? Beer garden? How did you spend it? Perhaps you made a statement and stood with our In...
WHERE did you spend Australia Day? Beach? Barbecue? Beer garden? How did you spend it? Perhaps you made a statement and stood with our Indigenous brothers and sisters. Perhaps you were celebrating our newest Australians, or welcoming our newest migrant arrivals - the handful of Syrian refugees that are, right now, making a home under our big, blue, safe skies.
Perhaps you were listening to former army chief David Morrison as he received his Australian of the Year accolade.
I did. I listened to Morrison speak on ABC radio this morning while driving to my stepdaughter’s house to help pack the last of her belongings before she closes a chapter on a broken and regularly violent relationship. The irony of where I was headed on this Australia Day, while I listened to the 2016 Australian of the Year talk of the big shoes he has to fill to follow the work of outgoing awardee and family violence campaigner Rosie Batty, was not lost on me. No.
Rather, I wanted to ask Mr Morrison - a man true to his word, I am sure - how many of the men he served alongside have gone on to respond with aggression and violence in their homes and among their families. Did he know the man who has - through his own poor and inexcusable responses and exacerbated by the service he has done - turned the lives of my family upside down, and, did he know the army was helping make men like him?
Of Ms Batty, is conversation and awareness enough when mainstream services can turn away from the weakest to protect the interests of those with power? I suspect she would tell me, no. If I was to go on and tell her how, this week, a real estate agent made my stepdaughter feel ashamed and embarrassed simply for trying to explain she was in fear of losing her good rental record because her husband – a man previously arrested for causing damage – may destroy the rental home listed in both their names; I fear Ms Batty would simply face me knowingly, and tell me that, yes, this continues to be so.
She may, like so many others, ask whether my step-daughter is safe. And I would answer, I do not know, but today, this Australia Day, she and her one-year-old son are.
:: The women who did not find safety.
:: This happens every two minutes.
:: What Rosie says needs to be done now, yet isn't.