Today marks the halfway point of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence and, as the Prime Minister so powerfully reminded us at the start of the campaign: there is no time to waste.
The simple fact is, in a nation supposedly built on principles of equity, fairness and justice, half of our population is not as safe as their counterparts, simply because they are women.
The statistics, while shocking, are known by most Australians. We see it on the news far too often. We read about it online and in newspapers.
One in three women in this country have experienced violence since the age of 15. And too many women are being killed, often by a man that they know.
As a government, we know that we can't just ignore this problem and hope that it goes away. We know women's lives depend on it.
We cannot just hang our head and avert eye contact.
We all have a role to play to end this violence. In the home, in workplaces, at schools, in the community - putting an end to this violence requires a groundswell of community effort, a commitment from every individual to challenge stereotypes, promote healthy relationships, and stand up against any form of violence.
Of course, government has a role to play, too, which is why, every step of the way, this government has backed its words with action and investment.
Since we came to office just shy of 18 months ago, we have invested a record $2.3 billion in our first two budgets, to support the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children and drive our efforts to end this violence.
One of the first pieces of legislation introduced to the Parliament enshrined in law the right for all employees, including casuals, to have access to 10 paid days of family and domestic violence leave - because no one should have to choose between their safety and their financial security.
We have reduced the time it takes victim-survivors to access the Escaping Violence Payment by 22 days.
We're funding more new front line and community sector workers in all states and territories to support victim-survivors of family, domestic and sexual violence.
We extended funding for states and territories to deliver frontline services that were due to cease at the end of June this year.
And we know we need to work with men to stop the violence, which is why we have invested $25 million to trial innovative responses to address the behaviour of perpetrators of violence. In addition, we are investing $3.5 million in a three-year trial commencing next year to explore what works best to counteract the harmful impacts of social media messaging targeting young men and boys.
As Minister for Women, I'm also working to finalise a national strategy for gender equality to be handed down early next year.
As part of that, I've been travelling the country, listening to women talk about issues they would like to see addressed by government and, overwhelmingly, I hear that women just want to feel safe.
It's really important to me that the National Strategy for Gender Equality is not just a bureaucratic endeavour; but that it is a commitment to addressing these concerns that have been so generously shared with me by women around the country.
This strategy will provide a framework to guide our collective efforts.
And it will closely link with the work already under way through the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children, which focuses on how we can support prevention, early intervention and support for victims, as well as their long-term healing and recovery.
But it will recognise the eradication of violence against women cannot be achieved by the government alone.
Families, communities, workplaces and educational institutions all play a pivotal role in shaping attitudes and behaviours.
We have to turn our outrage into action, our dismay into determination, and our grief into a collective resolve to build a safer Australia.
Not just for the sake of our mothers, daughters or sisters, but for the future of our nation.
- Katy Gallagher is an ACT senator and Minister for Women.