Is Melbourne not safe, particularly for women and girls?
In the past few years, family violence has cropped up very often in any crime reporting. The best city in the world – rated most livable more than once – is no longer safe particularly for girls and women it seems. The problem of community safety seems more complex than being a simple law and order issue if one were to trust the messages coming out of the office of Acting Minister for Immigration Alan Tudge who wants to ensure partners being sponsored know English and are able to access information in case of family violence.
In that context, looking at the 2020 Council Elections and its multitude of migrant community candidates putting their hand up – gives us a reason for hope. There are more than 130 candidates only from Indian/Asian communities contesting this year’s council elections. And most of them talking to Bharat Times have community safety and safety of women and girls in their election manifesto or agenda. And the issue is not particularly limited to a part of Melbourne. Be it Wyndham in Melbourne’s West, Hume in North or Monash and Dandenong in South East, it is part of the Candidate’s pitch to their potential voter.
“I believe the main object of this office is to provide a safe and healthy atmosphere to its residents”, says Ali Shezad in Hume while Mandeep for Officerr ward in Cardinia lists “safety”as one of his three top priorities if he wins.
“My vision for Wyndham City is a safe, healthy, and thriving urban multicultural community”, Says Rishi Prabhakar a candidate in Wyndham’s Chaffey ward.
Rishi, when asked for areas he thinks will need his attention if elected and lists “safety and security” as one of his top three priorities if he gets elected.
Narendra Kushwaha, another Indian Australian who is contesting in the Mount Waverley ward of Monsah council says, “I would like to eliminate assault, domestic violence, rape in the community…”.
Narendra believes we must educate our community about respecting women and girls and it should start from Kidnergarten.
“… we must include in Kindergarten curriculum to respect our girls, in the schools, college and university and home. The parents and leaders must create an awareness to respect our girls and young women.”
“Bullying and sexual harassment must not be tolerated anywhere.”
He says he is looking for an App which will connect police, parents and loving friend to catch the intruders with face recognition Artificial Intelligence technology.
Another migrant background candidate in the same ward is Anjalee De Silva, endorsed by the Australian Greens is also talking safety as an issue in the area.
When asked about her priorities if elected, Anjalee also lists community safety as one of her top priority if elected to the Monash council.
“I’m also passionate about combating violence against women and girls and improving factors that influence public safety, including the physical design of our urban environment”, she told Bharat Times.
A trained lawyer Anjalee holds a Ph.D in anti-discrimination law. Her PhD thesis focused on combating harmful speech directed at women and girls.
“Greater Dandenong should be a safe and vibrant city of opportunity for all. People should feel safe, respect and embrace multiculturalism”, says Ravi Shankar contesting from Yarraman in Greater Dandenong.
It is obvious the issue of community safety is too important for our leaders to keep it on slow burn on the back burner and to deal with it effectively ‘doing an odd grant’ and finalize it with a photo-op and a statement.
The Federal government has done a small campaign on domestic violence which is not enough but points to the fact that our leaders know of the issue. With more people being out of work thus with no or little income, community safety is issue that needs to be given its due attention, NOW.