Legislative Council: Thursday, November 03, 2022


Intervention Orders

The Hon. L.A. CURRAN (14:52): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Attorney-General regarding intervention orders.

Leave granted.

The Hon. L.A. CURRAN: On 31 October, The Advertiser reported that Emma Walters, the estranged wife of CFMEU leader John Setka, requested an emergency court hearing to seek a South Australian intervention order to protect her from the abuse of her convicted harasser. Ms Walters has an existing nationally recognised intervention order issued in Victoria already in place. It is understood Ms Walters has been living in crisis accommodation in Adelaide for five weeks, after she fled the family home in Melbourne.

The article reports that Ms Walters has already been forced to move address in Adelaide after Mr Setka claimed to know her first place of residence and she feared he would find her again. The article goes on to say that Ms Walters was told by SA Police it would not be able to prosecute if she made complaints. She said the need to address that issue by applying for a South Australian order in the Adelaide Magistrates Court was made more urgent when Mr Setka indicated that he would be travelling to Adelaide this week.

On 1 November, The Advertiser reported that Ms Walters appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court to seek an intervention order in South Australia after receiving what she claimed to be ongoing coercive control and abuse from Mr Setka. It is reported that the court told Ms Walters the nationally recognised intervention order that was already in place was sufficient for the court to act. The Advertiser reported that Ms Walters felt she was receiving mixed messages from SAPOL and the court, as SAPOL have told her that they can't investigate or do anything in relation to a nationally recognised intervention order and the court is telling her something else. Ms Walters said that she does not feel safe. My questions to the minister are:

1. What is the government doing to ensure the enforcement of intervention orders is streamlined so victims do not feel they have to live in fear while grappling with the conflicting practice of the application of intervention orders?

2. Has the minister sought to clarify why there are differing applications of intervention orders issued interstate?

3. Has the minister sought a briefing on this matter?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:54): I thank the honourable member for her question in relation to intervention orders. I will not be commenting on the specifics of matters currently before the courts; however, I have sought advice from my department on the topic of intervention orders generally that will, I think, answer the questions the honourable member has.

I have been advised that if an intervention order is a Victorian order that was issued after the commencement of the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme (NDVOS) in 2017, then it is a recognised domestic violence order in South Australia and is enforceable against the defendant in this jurisdiction pursuant to section 291 of the Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act as if it were a local order.

Jurisdictions have processes in place to enforce breaches where a perpetrator and the victim are in different jurisdictions to where the order was originally made. If an intervention order was issued prior to the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme provisions commencing, I am advised it is necessary to apply to the Magistrates Court to have it declared as a recognised order.

In summary, if there is an order in Victoria whatever is prohibited in that order in Victoria, if it was made after the 2017 National Domestic Violence Order Scheme, has the same effect and meaning in South Australia as it does in Victoria.