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Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Tackling violence against women will be the sole agenda item for a national cabinet meeting Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has convened for Wednesday.

The meeting, held remotely, follows thousands of Australians attending rallies across the country, as community anger surges over the horrific number of women killed so far this year.

One topic is expected to be bail laws. NSW already has an inquiry, after a man charged with crimes against a woman was granted bail and then allegedly killed her.

Albanese was at the Canberra rally on Sunday, where he received some heckling. He was accompanied by the Minister for Woman Katy Gallagher and the Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth.

“We are here today to demand that governments of all levels must do better, including my own, including every state and territory government,” the Prime Minister told the crowd.

“We’re here as well to say that society, and Australia, must do better.

“We need to change the culture. We need to change attitudes. We need to change the legal system. We need to change the approach by all governments – because it’s not enough to support victims.

“We need to focus on the perpetrators and focus on prevention.”

National cabinet would “talk about what we can do, including as part of the national plan to end violence against women and children, where in the first two budgets, we’ve added $2.3 billion,” Albanese said.

He said, “I know that we all must do better,” but “it’s not just governments’ problem. It’s a problem of our entire society” and a “a national crisis”.

“We need to make sure that this isn’t just up to women. It’s up to men to change men’s behaviour as well.”

The federal government has rejected calls for a royal commission into the issue, saying it already has a plan.

Rishworth told Sky on Sunday that victim survivors and many experts had had input into that plan. “So we believe we need to get on with the job.

“We have a Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner and Commission that our government stood up. That role is incredibly important in monitoring. We believe we just need to continue to have this sustained effort. We believe that is what will make the difference,” she said.

In the latest incident, in Perth a 35-year-old man was charged with murdering a 30-year-old mother late last week.

A police statement said: “It will be alleged […] the accused physically assaulted the victim at their shared home on Currie Street [in Perth]”.

“It will be further alleged the accused set the property alight while the victim was still inside.” The woman was later found dead.

So far this year 27 women have died in gender-based violence in Australia.

eSafety review opens public consultations

Meanwhile, amid growing concern about the negative effects of social media (including its contribution to gender-based violence) and the government’s fight with Elon Musk over the post of the Assyrian church stabbing, public consultations are opening on strengthening eSafety laws. An issues paper is being released on Monday.

A review by Delia Rickard, a former deputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, is underway. She has already been consulting academics, civil society and government departments and agencies to determine issues, the review’s are scope and the public consultation processes.

“The Review is considering the effectiveness of the current framework, including whether more powers are needed to address new and emerging harms,” Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said.

It is also looking at “options to reduce harms caused by online hate, as well as new harms raised by emerging technologies such as generative artificial intelligence”.

Among the matters the issues paper raises are

  • further steps to ensure the industry acts in children’s best interests

  • adequacy of existing penalties and enforcement powers

  • accessibility of laws and regulations dealing with online content and harms, and

  • international developments in online safety regulation, including whether a new duty of care should be imposed on digital platforms.

The Conversation

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

ref. National cabinet to meet on violence against women, with Albanese saying everyone ‘must do better’ –