Redland councillor attacked in parliament over domestic violence group comment

PARLIAMENT ATTACK: MP Don Brown has launched an attack in parliament.
PARLIAMENT ATTACK: MP Don Brown has launched an attack in parliament.

CAPALABA MP Don Brown has attacked Redland City councilor Paul Gleeson in parliament over comments he made regarding a domestic violence group and other issues.

Mr Brown said Cr Gleeson had sent an email to councillors and staff in reply to an invitation for a candlelight vigil run by the Working Against Violence Support Service.

He said Cr Gleeson’s reply was that WAVSS was not a domestic violence service.

Mr Brown said Cr Gleeson described the group as disgraceful, saying it catered only for women, turned men away, tore families apart and used lies to justify their government funding.

“Not only is this offensive, it is also plain wrong,” he said.

Cr Paul Gleeson.

Cr Paul Gleeson.

Mr Brown said WAVSS offered men’s information services.

He told parliament that he was dismayed by this attitude. “I have seen a Facebook post by the elected official of a meme stating, ‘This is a terrible day. First, my ex got hit by a bus. Then, I lost my job as a bus driver’ and another referring to his former wife as an ‘incubator’,” Mr Brown said.

Mr Brown told parliament that domestic violence was a serious community issue, especially for women.

A UN report on cyber violence found that 73 per cent of women had experienced cyber violence and that it could be as damaging as physical violence when mental health issues were taken into consideration.

Cr Gleeson said he would not be speaking on the issue.

“This is a load of crap. There are legal issues happening,” Cr Gleeson said.

“This is nothing more than a political stunt because he’s got nothing to talk about in Capalaba.

“He’s got no achievements to speak about. That’s all I want to say on this.”

Mr Brown said the DVConnect organisation reported that in the period 2006 to 2012 there was an average 23 deaths per year in Queensland linked to domestic and family violence and that this figure equated to 44 per cent of the state’s homicides.

Mr Brown said he knew that many MPs were bipartisan champions on domestic violence.

“...Our mayor, Karen Williams, is a leader on domestic violence,” he said. “I commend her for her actions on this issue.

“...It seems that opposition to domestic violence crosses the political spectrum.”

Update 3.30pm:

Cr Gleeson said he had contacted Redlands WAVSS this afternoon, only to be told that the service did not offer help to men who were victims of domestic violence, rather the service was only for women and children.

He said a WAVSS officer referred him to the Mensline DVConnect service for help.

WAVSS also told him that a man who operated out of Cleveland Court on Wednesdays offering help to men was a volunteer rather than a WAVSS staff member.

“So there you have it, there are no WAVSS men’s services in the Redlands,” he said.

Cr Gleeson said his inquiries showed that Mr Brown’s allegations were incorrect.

“The issue of domestic violence is a serious enough issue that he should have a better understanding of services available to both women and men in the Redlands,” he said.