653 days ago

March 29, 2022

'He used his access to the children to terrorise here, refusing to bring them back at the time they had agreed to. He stole his middle daughter's comfort toy and refused to give it back. Aaliyah cried and cried when forced to see him.' That is part of the report from the coronial inquest in the murders of Hannah Clarke and her three beautiful children, Aaliyah, Laianah, and Trey. They were murdered 770 days ago by the person who was supposed to love them the most; 765 days ago I stood up in this chamber and called on Prime Minister Morrison to act to prevent further horrific acts of family violence. I called on the Prime Minister to repeal section 61DA of the Family Law Act, the 'Presumption of equal shared parental responsibility when making parenting orders'. Frontline domestic violence workers have been calling for this change over many years. Even a bipartisan parliamentary report, with a Liberal Party majority, recommended it way back in 2017.

This small change would save lives. It would shift the culture and practice towards a greater focus on safety and risk to children. I introduced my private member's bill 653 days ago to make this legislative change. There has been support from across the chamber for my bill. Sadly, we know that there are other Hannahs living in terror and other children who are being put in dangerous situations today. Hannah had no power over the monster who stole her life and her children's. The Prime Minister does have power to change the law; he could bring on my private member's bill this week. He could do it today. I'm sure the member for Griffith, who is closely connected with the family, would agree.