Not just physical: The DV behaviour to be outlawed

 

Controlling behaviour such as deciding where a partner can go, who they can see and what they can spend will be criminalised in Queensland, after a clear pledge by the State Government.

The promise was revealed by Governor Paul de Jersey as he officially opened Parliament with his speech representing the Government following Labor's October 31 election win.

The news will be welcomed by domestic and family violence groups, which have been pushing for a specific offence of coercive control to be introduced in the wake of the terrible murders of Hannah Clarke and her children earlier this year.

Hannah Clarke and son Trey
Hannah Clarke and son Trey

But it's still unclear whether new offences will be created or existing legislation will be strengthened, with extensive consultation promised by new Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman.

"The Palaszczuk Government has led the nation in tackling domestic and family violence and as the new Attorney-General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, continuing this work along with preventing other forms of violence against women like sexual violence will be one of my highest priorities," Ms Fentiman said.

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"We have committed to legislate against coercive control as a form of domestic and family violence.

"To determine the form of this legalisation we will consult with survivors, domestic violence service providers, legal experts and the community.

"This is such an important issue and it is important that we get it right."

Tasmania has legislated against emotional and economic abuse and SA has introduced laws for debate in their parliament. NSW is investigating introducing its own laws.

Queensland Women's Legal Service chief executive Angela Lynch said criminalising coercive control "will save women's lives" by allowing police to intervene in escalating cases earlier, like that of Ms Clarke, and would send a message that it wasn't just physical acts of violence that were harmful.

The announcement came amid the pomp and ceremony of the start of the 57th parliament, which began with a 19-gun salute from Kangaroo Point and ended with an official afternoon tea with MPs, Mr de Jersey and his wife Kaye and other VIP guests.

Today will be the first ordinary sitting day since the election, with emergency local government laws expected to be rushed through to force a by-election to choose a new Rockhampton mayor following the shock resignation of Margaret Strelow.

The Government was forced into an embarrassing backflip over laws passed just months ago that would have seen colourful local Chris "Pineapple" Hooper automatically installed after winning just a third of the vote under laws the government have admitted are problematic.

Meanwhile, Greens MP Michael Berkman will move a suite of reforms to increase accountability that would ban Dorothy Dixers - soft questions from the same party - in Question Time and stop the government from bypassing parliamentary committees by piggybacking unrelated amendments onto bills, which the Palaszczuk Government has done several times this year.

"I'm moving these amendments to let Labor know they can't take their return to government as a mandate to do whatever they like - voters elect MPs to represent them, not blow smoke up each other in question time or push through legislation without scrutiny," Mr Berkman said.

 

 

Originally published as Not just physical: The DV behaviour to be outlawed

Shannon Fentiman is sworn in as Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence. Picture: Dan Peled/NCA NewsWire
Shannon Fentiman is sworn in as Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence. Picture: Dan Peled/NCA NewsWire

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