Legislative Council: Wednesday, September 28, 2022


Coercive Control

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (15:07): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Attorney-General on coercive control.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: On about 16 August, the Attorney was on radio, particularly the ABC, discussing the issue of coercive control and made reference to consultation on this matter. Since that, six weeks have passed. What consultation activities have taken place?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:08): I thank the honourable member for her question. It is indeed an important one. One thing we do know is that coercive control can often be a predeterminant of much more serious things, including victims of coercive control becoming victims of homicide. It is an issue that, at my first meeting of attorneys-general around Australia, was one of the key agenda items, as the federal government was keen that state and territory jurisdictions that have responsibility for these laws look at implementing laws in their states and there are a couple of jurisdictions that have gone down this path already.

It is something that, in addition to being the right thing to do—to protect people who are often the subject of family violence and, as I have said, it is often a precursor to much more serious violence occurring—is also an election commitment that this government took to the last election to legislate for criminal penalties for coercive control. It is something that in particular Queensland and New South Wales have done.

We have started consultation with a wide range of groups that are involved in this area, as well as other jurisdictions that are further developed in terms of coercive control legislation than South Australia. That consultation continues, and I know it is something that I regularly discuss with my colleague Minister Katrine Hildyard seeking views. Once that consultation has concluded, we will have draft legislation that eventually we will put before this parliament.