Residential Tenancies (Domestic Violence Protections) Amendment Bill

Second Reading: Adjourned Debate continued from 23 September 2015

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINKĀ  ( 16:18 :36 ): I rise to make some remarks in relation to this bill. I will be brief because I think the parliament is probably in furious agreement in support of this piece of legislation. One of the things that I am sometimes asked as shadow minister for the status of women in relation to domestic violence is how do we 'fix it', and my response to that is that many responses are required. Clearly, changes in attitudes are required, and the new Prime Minister certainly made those strong comments today, but there are a number of other measures that can be taken.

I see this as a very practical means of assisting people who are in situations where they are co-tenants. As we know, people who are the perpetrators of domestic violence are often incredibly manipulative. Sometimes they are quite clever at being manipulative and can convince other people outside of the relationship of their good intent. These measures will assist those people who are in a domestic violence situation to break those tenancy agreements.

I note some of the amendments address the issue of the damage to property, where the victim is often, under the current circumstances, required to pay for the damage to the property. Clearly, we do need to assist victims who are fleeing their situations. The current arrangements do not assist in that, which I think most people would agree needs to be changed. With those remarks, I commend the second reading to the house and look forward to the committee stage of the debate.