Monday is international women’s day.  It’s meant to be a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.  But over the past few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on just how far we haven’t come. The women of this country deserve better. I stand with every person in this country who’s suffered abuse …. And with those whose pain and trauma is being relived by these allegations. I urge anyone suffering distress to reach out to family and friends, or ring 1800respect (1800 737 732).

It is women who overwhelmingly suffer at the hands of male abusers. In the home, the number of assaults …. And murder …. Of women and children in this privileged country is amongst the worst in the western world. One woman a week in Australia loses her life to a violent male attacker, overwhelmingly her intimate partner. The accusations swirling around our politicians and political class mirror the dark side of our broader society.

This must finally be the moment for change. For truth telling. Our country cannot, for a minute longer, accept the way violence against women in our homes and workplaces has been almost normalised. This is not just an illness in parliament, where up to 5,000 people work when it is in session. It is about the cultural nature of this privileged country. Author George Megalogenis made the important point in an article last weekend that misogyny began when the first fleet landed.

Why is it still with us today? It is past time for men of this nation to accept this as normal. We need to seriously question why we literally punch above our weight in terrible household violence and violence against women. It is totally and completely unacceptable. Politicians have a greater accountability because we are supposed to be leaders …..leaders across the nation in every aspect. We men in this great country must commit to do better. In particular our young men must take up the challenge to write the new volume in our history.

We must stand alongside women and show …. Through our actions…. Respect for women and commit to achieving equality between the sexes.

Only then will this appalling behaviour become our past history.

That’s just as I see it.