I want to congratulate the Essendon District Football League on its ongoing work to make violence against women unacceptable. Last Saturday I attended a White Ribbon lunch at the Oak Park Football Club where the Guest Speaker, Acting Inspector Graham Banks from Victoria Police, gave a powerful and highly personal account of the impact of violence against women.
Since 2010 the EDFL Clubs have taken part in the “Fair Game: Respect Matters” program which aims to increase the awareness of domestic violence against women and create a more inclusive environment for women within local football clubs.
EDFL General Manager Marc Turri has also set out the history of the White Ribbon Campaign in an EDFL newsletter – how a man walked into a Montreal University in 1989 and massacred 14 of his female classmates, leading to national soul searching and the establishment two years later of the White Ribbon Campaign in Canada. In 1999 the United Nations General Assembly embraced the White Ribbon Campaign, and White Ribbon began in Australia in 2003. It is now the largest global male-led movement to stop violence against women.
White Ribbon calls on men to swear the White Ribbon oath: “I swear never to commit, excuse, or remain silent about violence against women”.
As one of the Australian Parliamentarians who belong to this campaign, and in a world where the position of women continues to be vulnerable and precarious, exemplified most dramatically by the disgusting public executions and abductions carried out by the Taliban, I am pleased to acknowledge the work being done by the EDFL to confront the issue in our own community.