Waleed Aly And ‘The Project’ Confronted Malcolm Turnbull On The Government’s Cuts To Domestic Violence Funding Last Night

"Minister, we'll do you a deal: we've got the megaphone, you've got the money."

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Two nights ago Project co-host Waleed Aly’s powerful call to the government to prioritise funding to combat domestic violence focused Australians on an issue that seemingly went almost unrecognised in the 2015/16 Budget. Aly noted that hotlines, shelters and services providing support to victims of domestic violence are overstretched and underfunded, and called on the government to do more.

Last night the Project followed up on their call to action, grilling Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the lack of dedicated resources to supporting these services in the budget, and at times Turnbull had no answer.

“The biggest thing we have to change is attitudes and culture — the attitude that domestic violence is somehow different to any other violence, the idea that a man hitting a woman is somehow or other ‘private business’, ‘not my concern’, but if that man was hitting someone in the street you’d be calling the police,” Turnbull said.

“The fact is we have to have, right across the board, both at a political level, at a media level, and above all with our friends and families, that there is zero tolerance for men hitting women.”

But the panel wasn’t content to let Turnbull get away with rhetoric. “Minister, I totally agree with you, I think that’s wonderful that you’re articulating that, but that is the reason why we need to get education programs in schools, and you’ve just cut funding to some of those programs in NSW,” Gorgi Coghlan said.

“There’s a services problem here. There’s a real serious shortfall here in access to counselling hotlines with calls that are not being answered,” Aly followed up. “These services that are not working, they need the funding. Where’s the money?”

Turnbull disseminated, arguing again that this is primarily a problem of attitudes and calling on the media to talk about domestic violence more, but Coghlan chimed in again. “Minister, before you go we’ll do you a deal: we’ve got the megaphone, you’ve got the money.”