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Justice and Related Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2023

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 16 November 2023

Tags: Justice, Legislation

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Speaker, the Greens are pleased to move in support of this amendment today. It is such a critical change to our legislation.

I also recognise Jari's family, who are here today, and their fight that they have had for three years now. Without their fight, we would not be here today. It shows how far love can take you. Faith's love for her son, who was, from what I understand and have heard, such a beautiful father and caring man, has taken her to do everything that she can and to channel her grief, and her disbelief and outrage at the failure of the state, to understand that Jari's death had to have a coronial investigation.

Given the other conversations we have had over the past five years in particular, but the last decade, around the need to change our laws to protect people who are victims of family violence, it is incredible that this has not been changed before. It is often the case that laws do not get changed unless people talk about the issues for why they should be changed.

Thank you for what you have done because, as Ms Haddad said so beautifully, it will not bring Jari back but it will make sure that every other family has the opportunity to have an investigation and to know the truth without having to fight for it like you have.

I live in the Huon Valley. I felt the ripples of grief in the community in 2020 when Jari died. There were many conversations in the community about what happened that night. I have never spoken to somebody who did not think that there had to be a better investigation. It was really clear this was a time where, in some people anyway, there may be an element of prejudice and a lack of understanding that men can be victims of domestic violence too.

All too often we fail to understand the impacts on men in family violence situations. Overwhelmingly, it is women who are victims but men can be victims too. Without a proper investigation about what happened that night and the conditions leading up to it the real circumstances may not have been known. This bill will now require the Coroner to consider whether there was a reasonable suspicion that family violence was a substantial contribution to the death. That means looking at the history of circumstances not just at the moment of a person's death but at the circumstances surrounding it. In this instance, the situation and the violence that may have been occurring and contributing to the death. So, it is incredibly important to have expanded the range of powers for the Coroner so they are required to make this assessment now.

I recognise the former attorney-general, Elise Archer. Elise applied her mind to these things. I know she was really moved to take action after talking to Faith. It was the work that you did as a family of bringing it to her attention that brought it to her attention. Your dogged work of sitting and waiting and being determined, being unmoving, and the petitions, the on-line petitions, the conversations in the street, the media, bearing your soul to Tasmania cannot have been easy at a time of grief, being public when people really want to be private in times of grief. But you pushed past that and opened yourselves and your family and the situation and experiences that you were going through to Tasmanians.

It was through a collective view in the community that I think, Elise Archer, former attorney-general, recognised the importance of acting in this situation and exercised her power that has not been exercised before by an attorney-general in Tasmania. Good for her and good on the Attorney-General today for bringing this law in.

The Greens are pleased to contribute our support to passing these laws. We look forward to the time when that coronial investigation has been completed and Jari's family has truth and some sort of closure for this time, recognising that they have given a gift to other families in the future who might need to pursue this path. We all hope it does not happen to other families but were it to be the case, at least there is an opportunity to find out what really happened.