Peter Khalil: Yesterday I attended the third annual Vicki Cleary Day, at Piranha Park in my electorate. The Coburg Lions played North Melbourne in the VFL in a game honouring the life of Vicki Cleary. Thirty-two years ago Vicki was murdered in Coburg, outside her workplace, by her ex-boyfriend. In 1987 there was a defence of ‘provocation’, and that’s exactly what Vicki’s killer used. He was sentenced to just a minimum of six years jail. He served only four years—for murder. The injustice of this sentence has driven Phil Cleary, Vicki’s brother and Coburg footy club champion and coach, to dedicate himself to the campaign against violence against women. Of course, Phil is a former member for Wills as well. He has fought hard on this campaign for many decades and has been particularly important in engaging men and young boys in the culture of football clubs, where it is most important that they understand respect for women.
Yes, things have improved since 1987, but we still have a long way to go to eradicate violence against women. On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner. It’s a shocking statistic. So far this year, 28 women have been killed through violence, according to various grassroots advocacy groups. Such a register should not really exist, but perhaps a register like this can help remind us that we as a society have more work to do. That’s why we’ll be working together with Phil on the idea of a national toll, to actually highlight the shocking statistic and drive us in society to do better and work harder to eradicate violence against women.