Condolence Motion - Hon Kenneth Trevor Griffin

24 Mar 2015 newsspeech

I rise to support the motion, and also to pay tribute to the Hon. Trevor Griffin and to acknowledge his family at this time of grief.

I am going to focus specifically on a period, as he was our prolific legislator, in the mid-1990s, and in particular on the areas of the status of women and child protection.

These have been touched on, but I think the complete record is worth putting into the Hansard.In 1994,a number of bills were passed or given assent, including the Criminal Law Consolidation Act's stalking amendment, on which Mr Griffin is quoted as saying in the paper at the time: 

The government does not believe that a person who is fearful of danger should have to prove that personal property damage has already occurred, or that the threat of damage exists , before being legally protected.

A number of offences were entered into that, including interfering with property, giving offensive material to family members, and keeping a family member under surveillance. We also had the domestic violence and restraining orders, which have been referred to. It is of note that this was the first time that any Australian state gave a specific definition of domestic violence, and, in the matter of restraining orders, this also enabled those who did not have an immediate family relationship to apply for those orders to take place.

Restraining orders were also made available by telephoning a judge, which obviously would greatly assist victims of those particular crimes. I note that, in relation to domestic violence, the crime attracted a maximum penalty of three years' imprisonment, compared with two years for imprisonment for common assault. We also had rape law reform, which arose out of a particular case that came before the courts, and so immediate action needed to be taken to define rape and other offences which affected children in particular. 

In 1995, the issue of female genital mutilation was addressed by this parliament. As part of the national uniform gun laws, the Firearms (Miscellaneous) Amendment Act was passed in 1996 and, given that one-third of women who were murdered as a result of domestic violence were killed with a firearm, that was a significant reform. In 1997, we had the first domestic violence court established as a pilot in the northern suburbs which, following evaluation, was later expanded, that being a closed court which enables victims to speak more freely about humiliating and confidential matters. With those remarks, I support the motion.