May is Domestic Violence Awareness month and this certainly directed the signature positive announcement of the Palaszczuk Government this month, with the Premier and Attorney General Shannon Fentiman MP announcing a significant overhaul of Queensland law and police practices to better protect victims of domestic and family violence and hold perpetrators to account.
The announcement included confirmation that a bill will be introduced to Parliament to criminalise coercive control before the end of 2023.
The dangers of coercive control were most tragically exposed in the murders of Hannah Clarke and her three children in February 2020.
Coercive control is the most common factor leading up to intimate partner homicide and it includes isolating a partner from family and friends, monitoring their movements, controlling access to money and psychological and emotional manipulation. The dangers of coercive control were most tragically exposed in the murders of Hannah Clarke and her three children in February 2020.
A four-month Commission of Inquiry will also be held to better understand why survivors of domestic violence may not receive an adequate response from the Queensland Police Service and make recommendations to how improve their treatment.
The state of our health system has also received considerable focus in recent times. Stories of ambulance ramping, exhausted health staff and claims Queensland Health is being pushed to breaking point saw the Premier and Health Minister Yvette D’Ath use the federal election campaign to call on the Morrison Government to increase its funding contribution to the state’s health system from 20 to 50 percent.
Following the election, Minister D’Ath confirmed she will push newly minted Labor Prime Minster Anthony Albanese for the same 50 per cent funding contribution requested of the Morrison Government. This potentially sets the scene for the first funding showdown between the State and Federal Labor Governments - who were claiming only last week that they would work together for all Queenslanders. Only time will tell how negotiations play out - and whether D’Ath sticks to her guns to secure her 50% funding. The only certainty we have in is space is that new Federal Treasurer, and Queenslander, Jim Chalmers is likely to be the person least looking forward to the discussions.
Finally, the results of the Federal election will also impact the make up of the Queensland Parliament with State Member for Callide Colin Boyce resigning to take his place in the Federal Parliament following his election as the Federal Member for Flynn. The Callide by-election will be held on 18 June and while there are never any certainties in elections, the LNP are expected to retain the seat.