Member for Nudgee Leanne Linard. Photo: Supplied
Leanne Linard was just nine years old when she learnt one of her school friends had been brutally murdered by her dad.
The Nudgee MP was just one of many Queensland parliamentarians who recounted harrowing tales of violence and death, as they spoke in support of strengthening the State’s domestic violence laws.
“He had attempted to kill the family via acute carbon monoxide poisoning, attaching a hose to the family car and gassing my friend, her baby sibling and mother,” Ms Linard told Parliament.
“But as this did not prove entirely successful and my friend escaped the vehicle, he then shot her in the back as she ran from the car and then killed himself.
“Our school community was of course devastated, but there was limited discussion of what happened that day and why, because it was a ‘private’ issue, an issue within their family and none of our business.
“Domestic and family violence is not private business. It’s everyone’s business. Embarrassment or discomfort at witnessing or becoming aware of such behaviour and perhaps fear of reporting it must
give way to resolute rejection of it and concern for the safety and welfare of victims.”
The evening before, Pumicestone MP Rick Williams spoke about the 1985 murder of his sister.
“The years rolled by and, although we could see what was happening, we did not want to interfere because we did not want to cause arguments,” he said.
“Sadly, we did nothing. We never challenged the situation.
“Eventually, June bravely stood up to him, took the kids and left. She wanted a divorce. On the fateful morning, my sister’s husband asked her to come and see him as he would sign the divorce papers.
“She had requested that many times. She disappeared that day. On the day my sister disappeared, the estranged husband shot himself, but not before he shot his father.”
Mr Williams said his sister was found “hidden in a tucker box freezer”, a week after she had disappeared. He identified her body in the freezer.
Moggill MP Christian Rowan recounted treating a woman for tomahawk axe wounds while a doctor in a small rural community.
“The physical injuries healed with time, but not the emotional scars for either the patient, her family, or all of the health professionals, myself included, involved in her care.”
Ferny Grove MP Mark Furner who had previously shared his daughter’s experience with domestic violence said he had received “copious” stories from constituents, including one from a father who
“told an alarming story that bore striking similarities to that of the road rage of Tara Brown, which tragically led to her death”.
The parties came together to pass the laws, which will increase the maximum penalties for breaches of domestic violence orders and give ‘special witness’ protection for domestic violence victims, and did
not need a division.
The government has committed to implementing the recommendations within the Not Now, Not Ever report, with more legislation to come before the parliament before the end of the year.