Rosie Batty ‘horrified’ by Canberra domestic violence slayings

April 22, 2015 – 11:30PM

Megan Gorrey

Reporter at The Canberra Times

Rosie Batty is an anti-domestic violence campaigner and Australian of the Year.

Rosie Batty is an anti-domestic violence campaigner and Australian of the Year. Photo: Thom Rigney

Rosie Batty has a message for a city still reeling from the tragic deaths of two young mothers allegedly due to domestic violence: maintain the rage.

Ms Batty, who is an anti-domestic violence campaigner and Australian of the Year, said her gut reaction to the alleged murders of Tara Costigan and Sabah Al-Mdwali was horror.

They were among three domestic homicides, including the death of Neal Wilkinson, in the ACT in as many weeks earlier this year.

Just as the killings attracted widespread grief and outrage in Canberra, Ms Batty sparked a national debate on family violence after her son Luke, 11, was murdered by his father at cricket practice in Victoria in 2014.


Her dogged mission since has been to ensure communities and governments make violence prevention a key priority to protect women and children.

“I talked about the statistics last year being one woman a week being killed [by a partner],” Ms Batty said.

“What’s more horrific is now two women a week are killed.

“There has to be that horror and there has to be that anger from the community that says ‘Oh my god, how can it be that we now have two women a week dying’?”

“What is it about this ambivalence we have? It’s one woman in three who will experience domestic violence, it’s one in four children.”

Ms Batty said the deaths of Ms Costigan and Ms Al-Mdwali in particular highlighted the frightening reality that even if women were empowered to leave violent relationships, their safety often couldn’t be guaranteed.

“It also reinforces that victim-blaming mentality where we constantly critique the victim on what they do and why they didn’t leave, and where we’re not talking about the perpetrator.

“What we should be saying is, why should the woman have to leave, why should the woman have to seek protection?

“It’s a basic human right, any woman and her children should be able to live safe in their own home.”

Leaving a violent relationship could put women in a vulnerable and dangerous position and offered no guarantee the violence would stop, Ms Batty said.

“The very forms of violence are likely to be continued, whether that’s through financial abuse, whether that’s using the court system as abuse or through continued harassment or intimidation.

“If they want to kill you, which is what would have happened with Luke, you are very, very vulnerable.”

Ms Batty, who will speak at a fundraiser for the Domestic Violence Crisis Service ACT in Canberra next month, has been appointed to a national advisory board on domestic violence and spoke with politicians before the Council of Australian Governments meeting on Friday.

She welcomed the leaders’ commitment to a national domestic violence order scheme, but said there were “a hell of a lot of other things that are equally as important or perhaps more important”.

Ms Batty called on state and territory leaders to go beyond “lip service” and commit to funding, supporting, collaborating and engaging with overburdened family violence services in their jurisdiction.

She said significant changes were needed to the way perpetrators were dealt with and advocated for firm, decisive and strong intervention from the first point of contact with police.

“Without immediate and very strong response there’s no chance of ongoing change.

“The fact we allow breaches to happen, the fact we adjourn court cases until they’re so diluted and get lost, really sends a message of enabling the perpetrator to escalate his behaviour.

“There’s so much work to be done.”

Rosie Batty will speak at the ACT Domestic Violence Crisis Service Blue and White Gala Ball in Canberra on May 16.


The Canberra Times

Emirates wants Qantas partnership to extend to 2023

Emirates wants Qantas partnership to extend to 2023

A dual A380 flyover of Sydney to mark the launch of the alliance

Many travellers still prefer to fly via Singapore than Dubai

Clark wants to extend the QF/EK alliance by at least another five years

Emirates and Qantas want to remains BFFs

Tim Clark and Alan Joyce talk up the Emirates/Qantas alliance

More Emirates A380s for Australia? Yes please...


Emirates is keen to extend its alliance with Qantas for another five years and also wants to boost the number of its flagship Airbus A380s flying to Australia.

The historic but in some quarters controversial Qantas/Emirates partnership was forged in 2013, and saw the Flying Kangaroo end its long-standing joint venture with British Airways in favour of a five-year hook-up with the Gulf airline.

This also meant ditching Singapore for Dubai as the stop-over for flights to the UK and Europe – although according to our recent poll, 42% of Australian Business Traveller readers still prefer to break their journey in Singapore, compared to barely 11% for Dubai.

However, the Qantas/Emirates alliance put scores of European destinations – including a half-dozen in the UK – just one stop away from Emirates’ hub in Dubai.

And those flights are so full that Emirates president Tim Clark is eager to continue his relationship with the Red Roo.

“I see no reason why we won’t continue with the arrangement,” Clark told leading UAE newspaper Gulf News.

“It’s doing really well at the moment. We’re filling our aeroplanes up, they’re filling our [aeroplanes and] we’re putting a lot on their domestic network,” Clark said.

Qantas and Emirates originally petitioned the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for a ten-year partnership, but the consumer watchdog allowed only half that span.

Clark is confident that the ACCC will back a re-up of the deal for a second five years.

“As long as Alan Joyce is there and I’m here at Emirates and the Emirates team is working closely together with Qantas it will just be a continuation,” he said.

Since the alliance began in 2013 Emirates has pulled ahead of Singapore Airlines to claim number two spot on the leaderboard of Australia’s most popular international airlines after Qantas itself.

As of December 2014, Qantas and Emirates combined carried 24.7% of passengers to and from Australia – almost one in four international travellers – with Virgin Australia partner Singapore Airlines in third place at 8.6 per cent.

That continued growth, and potentially a continued partnership, could see Emirates roster more A380 superjumbos to Australian cities.

“Getting onto any of our Australian aircraft, you’ve got to be heroic to get a seat because we just don’t seem to have any,” Clarke said. “We need more A380s going to Australia.”


Australian Business Traveller