Aus govt to convene summit on violence against women

The Australian government will convene a national summit to address violence against women, amid criticism of its handling of the rape and sexual assault, local media reported on Saturday.

Nine Entertainment newspapers said that Prime Minister Scott Morrison will invite community leaders, state governments and experts to the summit, which will create a national plan to prevent violence against women, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Prime Minister is expected to announce a major reshuffle within days that will demote Attorney-General Christian Porter and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, both of whom have taken medical leave after being caught up in the crisis, according to the local media reports.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has reported that it is expected Michaelia Cash, the minister for employment, will take over as Attorney-General and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton as Defence Minister.

The summit, which will be convened within months, will replicate the October 2018 Council of Australian Governments National Summit on Reducing Violence Against Women and their Children, which led to a A$328 million ($250 million) in funding to prevent domestic violence.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston, a proponent of the summit, told a Senate hearing on Thursday that it was initially meant to take place in May 2020 but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“There was actually a summit planned for May 2020 as part of the commencement of the consultation plan and of course was not able to proceed,” she said.