‘Having read the report, it is clear that outlawing dowry is not going to help as it is an entrenched cultural practice in many parts of the world. It is the dowry abuse that we must focus on’, says Julian Hill MP from Bruce and a strong activist against dowry abuse.
Attending the second dowry abuse summit in UNSW Sydney on Friday the 22nd Feb, Julian Hill MP told SBS Punjabi, ‘Dowry is supposed to be a cultural practice where the bride’s family give gifts before and after the wedding. But the demands increase manifolds which impact vulnerable women plus the broader community’.
‘It becomes abusive when the gift-giving is taken for granted. It becomes kind of extortion where the demands increase both before and after the wedding and lead to family violence and sometimes to murders and suicides.’
Julian Hill MP believes, ‘The Senate enquiry report into dowry abuse is an extremely important step to have a nationally consistent approach to tackle this issue. I have read the report and agree with the findings that there is no need to replicate the laws that some countries already have in place, for example, in India. These laws have proved both ineffective as well as subject of misuse and false complaints’.
‘I would like to see the recommendations implemented by all states and territories as soon as possible and recognize dowry abuse as a form of economic family violence’.
Seminars into dowry abuse help generate awareness in the communities about the help that is available and about the service providers and the advocates. They also help in putting pressures on all political parties and the parliamentarians to accept this report and implement the recommendations.
Julian Hill MP said, ‘There is another growing issue in some parts of the world known as abandoned brides. Some men sponsor a woman, extract the dowry, get visa cancelled and send the brides back to ruin their lives. We need to look into the Australian Migration system so that the men abusing their wives time and again should be named and shamed. There must be a dialogue between the governments to stop this issue as well’.
Ex-premier of Victoria Mr Ted Baillieu who also attending the dowry abuse summit agrees with the sentiments of Mr Hill, saying, ‘In Victoria, we have ensured that the abuse of coercive dowry that leads to family violence is a crime and is therefore outlawed. The message to all other states is that it can be done and no one should tolerate this sort of family violence’.
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