Opposition Leader Bill Shorten wrote a letter to Rosie and Never Alone supporters thanking them for leading on the issue of cross-examination in the family court. You can read his letter in full below.
Dear Rosie and everyone involved in the Never Alone Campaign,
Thank you for your work campaigning to stop violent perpetrators cross-examining survivors of domestic violence. We have listened to you, to other advocates and experts, and to the Productivity Commission, and Labor is taking action.
Today, on White Ribbon day, Terri Butler and I affirmed a plan that we will enact under a Labor Government. Right now, survivors of domestic violence are too often made to endure cross-examination from their violent ex-partners. That must no longer happen.
As Prime Minister, I will require judges to consider what should be done to protect vulnerable witnesses when family violence is alleged. And I'll equip them with the power and the resources to say enough is enough - no one should have to be re-traumatised by having their violent ex cross-examine them in the witness box. Labor will commit more than $43 million over four years to make sure this practice ceases.
Your advocacy is very important, and your advocacy is still needed.
Malcolm Turnbull’s government is presiding over massive cuts to legal services - with a 30% funding cliff coming up in July. And his party continues to ignore your advocacy, the experts in the field, and the Productivity Commission; they are not taking action to reform cross-examination. This should not be a partisan issue. Please continue to push for these important measures, so that we don’t have to wait until the next election to resolve this problem.
On behalf of Terri Butler, Mark Dreyfus, Tanya Plibersek and all of my Labor colleagues, thank you again for getting in touch with us about this important issue. Please keep up your good work.
Bill Shorten MP
Leader of the Opposition
Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
23 November 2016