Territory Stories

Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 9 May 2017



Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 9 May 2017

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Parliamentary Record 5


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




pp 1623 to 1686


Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Tuesday 9 May 2017 1642 It is important to note that these wonderful young Territorians have witnessed an important bill passing through the House in the Northern Territory and to also understand that if they were to go to Western Australia or Tasmania in the near future they would witness a similar process. This is very important legislation. In this House members not only research and understand the important elements of the law, but they also bring their own personal experience to this House and to the debate, from their life, family and careers. It makes sense because it gives substance and a context to the debate. What I like in the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory are the local storiesrich Territory history that often relates to our unique nature as Territorians, what I like to call on the frontier. Each of us brings those values and important life experiences to this. I spoke at a gathering in Tennant Creek recently, a march celebrating Australian women, particularly Territory women. That gathering was focused on Tennant Creek and Barkly women. It was a great event. There were some keynote speakers. The superintendent of police in the Barkly gave an empowering speech on young women, careers and the opportunities of serving your community. It was a very inspiring speech from the most senior police officer in the region, a person with enormous responsibility that relates to this bill. When you deconstruct who this bill relates tomembers of this House have made it clear it relates to all of us and to every child in the Northern Territory. What underpins the Labor governments policythe government elected in August 2016is the Territory child. That is the underpinning element. The Chief Minister has organised specific structures so every policy processed as part of this governments work is assessed against its relevance and importance to Territory children. At that rally I called out a generation of Australians who have called out sexual abuse, in particular childhood sexual abuse. I feel, as an older person, I can add a colloquial layer. The baby boomer generation within this country has made it very clear that we will call out injustice. A gross injustice that has been hiding in the past is childhood sexual abuse. It is an honour to be part of this generation, which has used the adage enough is enough across all aspects of vulnerability and disadvantage within our community and society. These matters often relate to high-level processing in relation to legislation and governance. We have seen this legislation directly tied to findings and recommendations of a Royal Commission. That process gave us great structure to work off. Underpinning that high-level governance was a generation of people who are calling out injustices. We have heard Charlie King mentioned many times in this House. He leads and mentors a great campaign in reducing family violence and violence against our Territory women. We need leaders like Charlie, who bring a groundswell of supporters from departments and non-government community organisations down to families and individuals. Charlie, with all his experience, chose football players to champion this cause. What a great idea, to use people we celebrate in our community for being noticed, acknowledged and valued as great sportspeople. We have a new level of elite sportspeople emerging, our Territory women, playing on national platforms in ALF and rugby league. Sportswomen are showing their expertise. They will be able to stand as celebrated people in our community and add to this momentum. Child sexual abuse is one of the underpinning elements of serious mental health, suffering and pain that has caused people complete disadvantage in achieving their lifes potential. It would be remiss if I did not mention childhood sexual abuse victims as survivors. We need to acknowledge those strong and dedicated people in our community, who have often led this movement within our generation by standing up and being counted. You can relate to those emotional images you see on the television, outside of the Royal Commission, images I witnessed, where people were telling their story. But the underpinning element was that they were telling our community, Yes, but we survived. Yes, we will make a difference. Yes, our participation and our part in the community is to make sure this does not happen to any other kids. This includes the institutional level, right down to the individual level. It is important to note, in this brief contribution to debate, an acknowledgement of the survivors. It is a great concept when you tag survivorbecause people have been through hell, but have an important contribution to make to the ongoing development of our community. We are survivors and we will make sure this does not happen again. That mantra is something I feel strongly about. The people you meet in your life, who you can learn fromask the question, how did you survive? It often provides elements of understanding why others have not done so well, and why others need help.