Today Labor has successfully established the Senate Inquiry into the practice and incidence of dowry abuse in Australia. This Senate Inquiry will provide a transparent and thorough investigation into the practice and the prevalence of dowry in Australia as well as its potential links to family violence.

Julian Hill raised concerns in Parliament in May saying “Women are not property; cultural or religious practices that suggest so are not welcome in Australia. I believe the practice of dowry is completely inappropriate in modern Australia.

“Dowry perpetuates a culture of ownership of women, which runs against the cause of equality. Dowry extortion has been recognised as a direct cause of family violence and horrific murders and suicides. Alarming growth in reports has been seen in certain communities.

“The Victorian Government has led the way in Australia with its commitment to implement the 2016 recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence to expand statutory examples of family violence to include forced marriage and dowry-related abuse.

“Legislation is now before the Victorian Parliament and its time we examined the need for a comprehensive national response to dowry and dowry abuse.” This Senate Inquiry will allow the committee to speak to members of the community and peak body organisations.

The Chair of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Senator Louise Pratt said “the practice of requiring dowries can result in abuse and have devastating impacts on women and their families. Despite laws prohibiting it in Australia, we know this practice still exists. We therefore need to take a fresh look at what needs to be done to stop dowry abuse, so it’s vital that we have as many submissions as possible to explore dowry-related abuse in Australia.”

The Senate Inquiry is open for public submissions and will provide dates for upcoming public hearings with a final report due back to the Senate on Thursday 6 December, 2018. Labor looks forward to the outcomes of this important inquiry.