Australia: Pauline Hanson adds family violence & Muslims to Asian bigotry on return to parlaiment Print E-mail
 Thursday September 15 2016

Rosie Batty slams Pauline Hanson over maiden speech family violence comments

By Michael Koziol

Domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty has slammed Pauline Hanson over her inflammatory maiden speech, branding the senator's tirade against the family law system an example of victim-blaming.

The One Nation leader made headlines for her claim that Australia was being "swamped by Muslims". But she also railed against the "discriminatory, biased and unworkable" family law system, and accused mothers of making "frivolous claims" to get sole custody of their children.

Family law leads to murders of 'frustration': Hanson

In her controversial maiden speech, Senator Pauline Hanson says the family court systems discriminate towards men.

Fathers were taking their own lives or murdering family members out of "sheer frustration" at the system, Senator Hanson claimed.

"Children have two parents and until we treat mums and dads with the same courtesy and rights, we will continue to see murders due to sheer frustration, depression and mental illness caused by their unworkable scheme," she said.
Rosie Batty says Pauline Hanson's claims about family violence were disappointing and wrong. (Getty Images)

Ms Batty, whose son Luke was killed by her ex-partner Greg Anderson in 2014, said those remarks fell into a well-established tradition of blaming the victim.

"People are not murdering because of the family law system. That idea is just another example of our victim-blaming mentality," she said.

"If Australia is being swamped by anything it's family violence. That's the real threat. One in four children are traumatised from being exposed to family violence and that's the emergency."

Ms Batty said the senator's comments were "very disappointing" at a time when family violence was receiving national attention and people were more familiar with the system's real shortcomings.
Senator Pauline Hanson delivers her first speech in the Senate. (Alex Ellinghausen)

"The safety and wellbeing of children must be the overriding priority," she told Fairfax Media. "Turning family law issues into men versus women, or mums versus dads, does nothing but make complex situations more challenging for all involved."

The 54-year-old was in Canberra this week to discuss the family law system with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Greens leader Richard Di Natale.

Through the Luke Batty Foundation, Ms Batty is promoting a five-step reform agenda that would prioritise children's safety, early intervention and financial support for women and children.

Ms Batty said she would welcome the opportunity to discuss the family law system with Senator Hanson.

The One Nation leader targeted single mothers numerous times during her speech, claiming they were rorting the welfare system by having multiple children, and calling on the government to provide support for a maximum of one child only.

Minister for Women Michaelia Cash controversially hugged Senator Hanson following her first speech, and was forced to distance herself from the remarks on Thursday.

"I will never justify the murder of a female or a male. That is unacceptable and especially in situations of domestic violence," Senator Cash said.

"It was her maiden speech and I offered her goodwill as I do every other person in the chamber when they give their maiden speech."

Fairfax Media approached Senator Hanson for comment.