A history of ‘domestic violence’ in Australian politics

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    This article examines the introduction, evolution and demise of the phrase ‘domestic violence’ to describe issues of terrorism, insurrection and violent civil disobedience within Australian political discourse. It seeks to interrogate the circumstances whereby the political usage of ‘domestic violence’ changed in Australia. The study relies on Hansard, as well as secondary sources, to examine how and in what context political leaders used the phrase in discussions of relevant events and legislation. It finds that a shift in language usage between political unrest and familial violence occurred within the space of a year. However, despite this comparatively narrow timeframe, there was little to no overlap within political speech. The article illuminates how close the two usages of ‘domestic violence’ came to colliding and the circumstances under which the former fell from use. It also argues that the limited adoption of the earlier denotation of the phrase in Australian politics likely owes to the differing domestic contexts of the US and Australia, as well as a lack of appropriate supporting legislation to give it legal force.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)254-269
    JournalHistory Australia
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

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