Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

New foundation to prevent violence against women

Joint Media Release with:

  • Mary Wooldridge MP
    Victorian Minister for Mental Health
    Victorian Minister for Community Services
    Victorian Minister for Disability Services and Reform

A new national foundation has been created to engage and raise awareness in the community on the prevention of violence against women and their children.

Federal Minister for the Status of Women Julie Collins and Victorian Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge officially launched the landmark foundation at an event in Melbourne today.

“Violence against women is one of the most significant issues facing our community,” Ms Collins said.

“Any form of violence is unacceptable and this is why we are taking action.

“In addition to the personal cost, domestic and family violence costs the Australian community more than $13 billion a year.”

Ms Collins and Ms Wooldridge said the Commonwealth and Victorian governments have joined forces to establish the new foundation because they understand how critical the situation regarding family violence is across the nation.

“The Federal Government, together with other state and territory governments, share a policy of zero tolerance for violence against women,” Ms Collins said.

“To tackle this issue we need a coordinated national voice, an obvious rallying point, the collaboration of the sector, the explicit support of the community and endorsement of government. We believe this new Foundation can achieve that,” Ms Wooldridge said.

Ms Wooldridge also welcomed the decision to locate the national foundation in Melbourne.

“Victoria has a very strong and innovative family violence sector and I’m pleased we will be able to continue our policy leadership with the foundation based in Melbourne,” Ms Wooldridge said.

“I’m also delighted to announce that former leader of the Australian Democrats, Natasha Stott Despoja AM, will be the inaugural chair of the foundation.

“Under her leadership, the foundation will be a single, national body that informs, educates and empowers the community to end the scourge of family violence.”

The foundation will promote best practice prevention strategies based on research; undertake prevention and early intervention projects through communities, schools and media; deliver information sessions, forums and conferences; and run targeted social marketing and online campaigns.

The Commonwealth and Victorian governments are investing a total of $6.5 million over two years to kick start the foundation and drive initial projects.

Other states and territories will be invited to join the foundation.

“The Federal Government’s investment in the new foundation is part of our $170 million National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children,” Ms Collins said.

“To date we have invested $86 million in National Plan initiatives with an additional $84 million in the pipeline through to 2017 – including $3 million for the foundation from 2014.”

The foundation will seek to build partnerships with business, philanthropic organisations and governments across Australia and will look to the community to get behind and support the initiative.

The foundation will soon undertake a national consultation process, with workshops to be held around Australia, along with online submissions and webinars.

Joining Ms Stott Despoja on the foundation’s board are five directors:

  • Professor Muriel Bamblett, CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency;
  • Professor Rosemary Calder, long-time campaigner on women’s issues;
  • Alan Cransberg, Alcoa Managing Director and West Coast Eagles chairman;
  • Professor Anne Edwards, Chair of the National Centre of Excellence; and
  • Dr Phil Lambert, White Ribbon ambassador.

For more information about the foundation and to register your interest visit:

Board Members

Ms Natasha Stott Despoja AM (SA)


  • Deputy Chair, beyondblue, whose mission is to provide national leadership to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety in the Australian community
  • Former leader of the Australian Democrats (2001-02) and a Senator in the Federal Parliament of Australia (1995-2008)
  • An Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at The University of Adelaide
  • Director of the Burnet Institute and the South Australian Museum
  • A member of the Museum of Australian Democracy Advisory Council

Professor Muriel Bamblett AM (VIC)

  • A Yorta Yorta/Dja Dja woman
  • Chief Executive Officer, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency
  • Former Chairperson, Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care
  • Member First People’s Education Advisory Committee
  • Adjunct Professor, School of Social Work and Social Policy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Latrobe University (appointed 2009)
  • Member Australian Institute of Family Studies

Professor Rosemary Calder AM (VIC)

  • Director of Health Policy, Mitchell Institute for Health and Education Policy at Victoria University
  • Board member, White Ribbon Australia
  • Former head of the Commonwealth Office for the Status of Women
  • Extensive experience in policy and administration in health, in social policy and particularly gender policy.

Mr Alan Cransberg (WA)

  • Chairman and Managing Director, Alcoa of Australia
  • Chairman, West Coast Football Club
  • Board member of Alcoa Global Foundation
  • Board member of Aluminium Council of Australia
  • Counsellor, Australia Business Arts Foundation
  • Board member, Black Swan State Theatre Company, and former board member, Australian Institute of Management and WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Emeritus Professor Anne Edwards AO (SA)

  • Inaugural Chair, National Centre of Excellence to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children
  • Former Vice-Chancellor, Flinders University
  • Fellow at the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, the Australian College of Educators and the Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • President of the Council of the Ageing South Australia, Board member of COTA Australia

Dr Phil Lambert PSM (NSW)

  • White Ribbon Australia Ambassador
  • General Manager, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority
  • Former Regional Director, New South Wales Department of Education and Communities
  • Fellow of both the Australian College of Educators and the Australian Council for Educational Leaders