Turnbull & Cash Show True Colours on Domestic Violence Leave

The MUA condemns Minister for Women Michaelia Cash and the Turnbull government for insisting domestic violence leave cannot be included in agreements for workers in their own departments.

Mr Turnbull's own Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet refused a request by the CPSU union to include domestic violence leave in its latest draft agreement, claiming it was an "enhancement" to workplace conditions.

National Women’s Liaison Officer Mich-Elle Myers said: “The MUA support or comrades at the CPSU in bargaining for the rights of victims of domestic violence. I find it abhorrent that the Minister for Women speaks publicly about her unwavering support for domestic violence yet disallows these provisions for women in the government’s own departments.

“We may as well go back to having Tony Abbott as the minister for women.”

Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray also condemned the government on this issue.

“The MUA, a male dominated union, is able to bargain with employers and have this leave included however public service workers are denied this. It’s a national disgrace” Bray said.

“The MUA is committed to White Ribbon and supporting domestic violence leave and our officials make every effort to ensure it is included in our EBAs.”

White Ribbon Ambassador of the year 2013 and former Deputy National Secretary of the MUA Mick Doleman has long been a champion of this issue – both domestically and internationally.

“We are going backwards in our commitment to this blight on society if our government won’t allow domestic violence leave to be included in workplace agreements for its own staff,” Doleman said.

Senator Cash's office said on Tuesday that APS employees facing trouble in their personal lives could access a number of leave types and other provisions in existing and new enterprise agreements and there were no plans to change theses arrangements.

However, Sue Williamson, a lecturer in human resource management at the University of NSW Canberra, said the approach to bargaining seemed to fly in the face of the government's pronouncements on domestic violence.

"Coupled with the Prime Minister's stated commitment to reducing violence against women, the removal of this clause appears to undermine government policy," Dr Williamson wrote in an article for The Canberra Times.

Jessica Luter​ from White Ribbon Australia said the foundation “highly recommends” that workplaces offer domestic violence leave.

"We believe that domestic violence is both a human rights issue and a workplace issue. If a person is affected by domestic violence in their home life, it most likely will affect their working life as well so it is incredibly important that organisations support their employees if they are victims of violence and one of those things is domestic violence leave," Luter said.

One in three Australian women will experience domestic violence. It's a staggering and frightening number. 

Over 1.6 million workers now have access to paid domestic violence leave in union negotiated workplace agreements. Paid domestic violence leave recognises that employees experiencing domestic violence can least afford to take unpaid leave at a time when financial security is critical.

It's time that paid domestic violence leave was made a universal entitlement for Australian workers. That is why Australian Unions are pushing to have domestic violence leave included in all awards.

Sign on here to show your support for paid domestic violence leave.