Horsham’s O’brien stands for senate
Simone O’brien, 43, of Horsham will take her powerful and resonating anti-domestic-violence message to Canberra if she wins a Senate seat in the approaching federal election.
Ms O’brien put up her hand to run alongside Derryn Hinch for Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party and will run on the platform that there is a need for action – ‘not tomorrow, next week or next year – but now!’
“There are an average of 52 women and children killed as a result of domestic violence every year in Australia,” she said.
“Last year that figure got up to 86 and we’ve had 15 already this year.
“The figures include everyone from
babies up to a 74-year-old lady. My aim is to get that down to single figures and even then that would be too many.”
Ms O’brien, beaten to ‘within inches of her life’ with a baseball bat by a former partner in 2012, has risen from a gruelling six and a half years of recovery to become a national advocate against domestic violence.
She confirmed her Senate nomination late last week.
She said despite constantly travelling across Australia and speaking at various events on the impact of domestic violence, she had previously never considered a parliamentary role.
“I had never thought about it. I actually sent Senator Hinch an email,” she said.
“I had contact with him for quite a few months and said in my email about what needed to happen and how it needed to happen now.”
“I was on my way to Melbourne when he rang me and I met up with his team on Friday while I was on my way to Brisbane for treatment.
“I told them I was really busy and that I didn’t want that to affect what I was doing but Senator Hinch said, ‘don’t worry about it, it won’t’.”
Ms O’brien, originally from Dimboola and with a partner and three children, is directly involved in six anti-domestic-violence campaign organisations across Australia.
“I basically go there to provide facts and lay it on the line about how 10 seconds of madness can change a life forever – telling the story that hitting mummy isn’t okay,” she said.
“It’s not just about going somewhere and speaking, it’s also about cementing in the minds of people that they should look out for each other.
“While I’m busy helping others, it’s also a healing process for me. Six and a half years ago I became a prisoner in own body for the rest of my life.
“Treatment is my everyday routine. I’m doing a lot of travelling and advocacy work and that helps my selfbelief and confidence.
“It is something that just comes out of my heart.”
Ironically, the election is on May 18 in a month when Ms O’brien has intensive interstate engagements.
“I have a busy schedule and it’s all about balancing. I get to be a mum, which I love, and being positive,” she said.
“When one door closes another one opens and I’m hoping to turn advocacy into making a political difference.”
Ms O’brien, who suffered severe facial injuries, including the loss of sight from an eye, sense of smell and skull and jaw complications, will have her 52nd operation in August, surgery she hopes will be her last.
“When I first started this journey I never saw a light at the end of the tunnel. I can now see that light,” she said.
“It’s not just my story, it’s everyone’s story and I’m prepared to speak from the heart.
“It’s about saving women and children from domestic violence.”