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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has welcomed today’s announcement that violence against women will be put on the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) national agenda in 2015.

The Prime Minister Tony Abbott has established an advisory panel on violence against women and retiring Victorian Police Commissioner Mr Ken Lay APM, and the 2015 Australian of the Year, Ms Rosie Batty, have agreed to be the founding members of the panel.

The Commonwealth will seek the agreement of all states and territories to prioritise the implementation of a national Domestic Violence Order (DVO) scheme. Under the scheme, if a protection order is issued in one state, it will apply in all states.

Mr Chester, a White Ribbon Day ambassador, said today’s announcement showed further resolve to make domestic violence a national priority.

“This extra focus will complement the work already being done at a local level in Gippsland through women’s health groups and support workers who are on the front line helping victims of family violence every day,” Mr Chester said.

“By putting this on COAG’s agenda in 2015, we are sending a clear message to victims that all governments are taking this issue seriously and we will no longer accept the current levels of violence being recorded in the home.

“If we are going to beat the scourge of domestic violence, we need a whole-of-community approach. Violence in the home is never a private matter – it is a national problem and we need to do everything we can to stop it.”

Mr Chester said he was particularly pleased that Mr Lay and Ms Batty had been installed as founding members of the new panel.

“I thought it was a breakthrough when Rosie Batty was named Victorian of the Year and then on Monday, Australian of the Year, for her courageous efforts to raise awareness of family violence,” Mr Chester said.

“Ken Lay – a proud Gippslander – has been a determined and passionate advocate for victims of domestic violence in his role as Victoria Police Chief Commissioner and I’m delighted he will continue his important work in this space.”

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