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'Concerted plan' needed for violence against women: PM

Anthony Albanese says long-term measures, not just a one-off is needed to address violence against women, ahead of a national cabinet meeting on the crisis.


A general view of people attending a rally to a call for action to end violence against women outside Parliament House in Canberra, Sunday, April 28, 2024. Image AAP

A "concerted plan" is needed to effectively deal with violence against women rather than declaring the scourge a national emergency, the prime minister says.


Anthony Albanese will meet with state and territory leaders on Wednesday to discuss preventative solutions to address the national crisis.


It comes after mass marches were held across the country on the weekend as demonstrators called on governments to do more following the deaths of at least 27 women in 2024 from male violence.


While there have been calls for the government to declare violence against women a national emergency,  Mr Albanese says more long-term targeted action is needed.


"An emergency declaration by state or territory governments kicks in immediate, one-off actions by the federal government. What we need here is not one-off actions, what we need is a concerted plan," he told ABC TV on Monday.


"This isn't something that requires a one-off action, this is something that requires concerted action from all levels of government, from the media, from all levels of society to change culture, because this is a scourge."


Seventeen rallies were held across Australia on the weekend including an estimated 15,000 people demonstrating in Melbourne, about 10,000 in Sydney and thousands more in Brisbane.


Women in Australia deserve better, governments have to do better and as a society we have to do better.


That's why we'll be convening the National Cabinet with one issue on the agenda: immediate, meaningful and practical action to address family violence.


Among the issues to be discussed at national cabinet is whether bail laws for those accused of violence against women are adequate.


"We need to look at the full suite of policy measures that can make a practice difference here," Mr Albanese said.


"There's a longer term issue of culture change that we need to engage in so that people teach respect.


"It's not just women and children who will gain from that, men will gain from that as well if we have respectful relationships across our society ... but at the moment, women are feeling, quite rightly, frustrated and angry."


The federal government is two years into a 10-year national plan on domestic violence.


Women's Minister Katy Gallagher said the government was keeping an open mind about measures to address violence against women.


"I don't think there's any shortage of resources and commitment going into this," she told ABC TV on Monday.


"But I think we always need to look at whether things are working, whether we need to shift focus or look at new ways, particularly in the area of prevention, about how we provide support and service.


"From our point of view, we have an open mind."


Senator Gallagher acknowledged more still needed to be done.

Katy Gallagher admits more needs to be done to combat gender-based violence.


"People are wanting to see change happen faster than it's been, and I think we all feel that," she said.


"But we've also got to acknowledge that this is a very deeply embedded cultural problem in our community, and it isn't one that one government or eight governments can solve. It's a whole or community problem."

At least 27 women have allegedly died by male violence so far in 2024, Destroy the Joint says.


Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said the community anger was not surprising.


"We need to look at what government's doing, what police are doing, what courts are doing, what emergency services are doing," she told Seven's Sunrise program.


"But we need to look at what is happening, particularly young men online, that is supporting these misogynist attitudes."


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