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Letter to the Editor, the Australian

Dear Editor

Your description of Victorian unions’ world-leading introduction of domestic and family violence leave as “generous” is a wilful mischaracterisation of important workplace reform.

 

To be clear, domestic and family violence leave is not a holiday.

 

Family violence leave is taken by an employee experiencing family violence in order to attend to matters arising from their situation, like doctors’ appointments, meeting with legal support and police, having the locks changed, or settling children into a new school. I cannot imagine a world in which any employee would ever be happy about using this sort of leave.

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Domestic and Family Violence clauses support working people who are unfortunate enough to experience family violence – the leave cannot be taken for any other reason. The leave exists in theory for all employees, like paid parental leave does, but like only parents may use parental leave, only people experiencing family violence can use family violence leave.

 

Everyone has the right to feel safe at work, and everyone should have the right to a supportive workplace. Unfortunately, not all managers are sympathetic or understanding, and so DFV clauses are necessary to provide support for all employees.

 

It is neither generous nor unrealistic to expect that all Victorians would have their employer’s support if they ever needed to escape a violent relationship. It is the bare minimum we should expect.

 

That the national daily paper would wilfully mischaracterise this important reform suggests that drumming up controversy, savaging unions and selling newspapers is more important to your editors than the safety of Australian working women.

 

We respectfully suggest that everyone involved in the story, including Mr Guy and Mr Kennett, re-examine their conscience. We all have a role to play in ending domestic and family violence.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Luke Hilakari

Secretary Victorian Trades Hall Council

Update! Instead of printing our letter, The Oz printed this offensive cartoon. We're demanding an apology - the Oz should be campaigning FOR DFV clauses, not against them. 

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