In November 2018, the then Minister for Women: Kelly O’Dwyer announced that her Government would move the amendment of the superannuation law (SISreg 6.19A) to allow the early release of superannuation, for victims of family and domestic violence (see related TT article). The then Assistant Tresaurer: Stuart Robert, also issued a Media Release.

However, In the 6 months until the Morrison Government was re-elected, and in the 8 months since then, there has not, to my knowledge, been any progress with implementing this announcement: no legislation, no bill, no draft legislation. Apparently, they’ve engaged in ‘broad consultation’ about the introduction of this measure (see below) – but how much ‘consultation’ does this really need (15 months worth)?

And now, in January 2020, an articulate woman, who I’ll call ‘Victim X’, needs this relief right now, but she finds there is no relief. Using the above TT article (and others) as a springboard, she writes an email to the Minister for Women: Marise Payne, pressing her for action (and she included me as a ‘bcc’). I thought her email was compelling and have her consent to reproduce it here (see below). Victim X then received a reply (via the Sydney Morning Herald’s Caitlin Fitzsimmons – 02 9282 3526) from from the Assistant Minister for Superannuation: Jane Hume, which I’ve reproduced below, also. In my opinion, this reply is broadly unresponsive to Victim X’s call, to fast track the implementation of this announced reform (read the response, below, and see if you agree).

Most Australians are aware of the ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’ tourism ad, featuring the glamorous and once prominent: Lara Bingle. Ironically, it was our current Prime Minister, as managing director of Tourism Australia, who, I understand, commissioned this ad. So, Victim X is basically asking the Morrison Government: ‘where the bloody hell, is this measure – and why isn’t it law?

I, and Victim X, would appreciate it, if anyone can help get this measure passed (urgently), by contacting the Minister’s office, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Treasurer’s office, Treasury, the office of your local MP or any other contacts you have. I am happy to assist, including by passing on information to Victim X.

[Tax Month – January 2020]

________________________

Victim X’s email to the Minister

Ms Marise Payne
Minister for Women
Government of Australia

 

Dear Ms Payne,

Minister for WOMEN: Early release of superannuation to victims of family and domestic violence.

Before the election the Hon Kelly ODwyer MP release the Womens Economic Security Statement which CLEARLY states:
I am a victim of domestic violence and I URGENTLY need access to some of my super to escape a very serious and life-threatening situation. As I am sure THOUSANDS of women just like me do at this point in time.
After putting the IVO on my defacto partner, of 4 years, on Christmas Eve, I researched how I could come up with the bond + rent + moving costs to move out, and seek safety so that I  could continue to work and keep my job and flee this situation immediately. So that you know, my partner has sexually, financially, emotionally and verbally abused me and I need to GET OUT and the IVO is on him until he goes to court on the 13th Feb.
ALL the news articles I came across while searching for my options were written by reputable journalists and published across many mainstream media sites before the election assured the voters LIKE ME that the government WILL change the circumstances of compassionate grounds to include early access of super (up to $10K)
 
Here are some of the news articles for your reference: 

I felt relieved.

Do you know how utterly SHOCKED and LIVID I am to now find myself in a family violence situation with an IVO out on my partner of 4 years and I have literally NOWHERE to go and I CANNOT access my super early because the government DID NOT follow through with this ELECTION PROMISE???

I went to the ATO site to apply for my super on COMPASSIONATE GROUNDS and saw that there was NO option for accessing super under family violence circumstances and I then called my fund to be told that this was NOT an option.

Never has been, Hostplus knew nothing about this, there is NOTHING about Family Violence on the ATO site whatsoever. I called 1800 RESPECT and they had no idea either.

I want to know WHY the Women’s Economic Security Statement CLEARLY states that the Government WILL allow victims of family violence to access their super early?

WHY hasn’t this happened?

I want to know WHY today.

I have NO family to ask for a loan so I am subjected to living in absolute fear while trying to hold down my full-time job without ANY financial help as I do not fall under any category that will help me. I have suffered psychological, sexual, financial abuse and it has gotten so bad I fear for my life and YOUR GOVERNMENT has used a case like mine for VOTES??

The  Women’s Economic Security Statement wasn’t real was it Minister?  It was a press release that was picked up by journalists that have written the articles above could spread FAKE NEWS to secure your VOTES.

Well you will have blood on your hands if anything happens to me because I cannot escape this abuse. I cannot access my super and I do NOT have any other options.

Explain to me as soon as possible WHAT is happening with this.

Signed: Victim X
Thursday 23 January 2020
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Reply from the Assistant Minister: Jane Hume

“Assisting women to recover from family and domestic violence is an issue of the utmost importance to the Morrison Government that has profound effects on one of the most vulnerable parts of our community. The Government has undertaken detailed consultation with a wide range of stakeholders on the early release of superannuation to victims. We are carefully assessing the outcome of these consultations to ensure the Government’s response provides victims with the best chance of recovery.

“This work comes in addition to a raft of measures this Government is implementing to support victims of family and domestic violence, including the single largest Commonwealth investment of $340 million to support the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022. This includes:

  •  $82.2 million to improve and build on frontline services to keep women and children safe
  • $68.3 million for prevention strategies to help eradicate domestic and family violence in our homes, workplaces, communities and clubs
  • $35 million in support and prevention measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities funded under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy
  • $78.4 million to provide safe places for people impacted by domestic and family violence
  • $64 million for 1800RESPECT, the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service
  • $7.8 million for dedicated men’s support workers in Family Advocacy and Support Services locations, to work with male victims and alleged perpetrators of family violence involved in family law matters, and
  • $4.9 million to better support former partners of veterans who are impacted by domestic violence.”
 
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