Rosie Batty believes there is hope for Australia
NO ONE can deny Rosie Batty is a powerhouse of strength, resilience and spirit.
A feeling of great empathy and pride arises when hearing her name - empathy for her ordeal, and pride for taking it and turning it in to something so positive.
In 2014, Ms Batty's son Luke was brutally murdered by his father at cricket practice in Melbourne.
Ms Batty believes her former partner committed the murder as a final act of control over her.
She then made it her mission to begin a campaign against domestic violence, in a bid to ensure that no one would have to endure what she had.
The tireless campaigner was the guest speaker at the Lunch with Rosie Batty event, held at Noosa Peppers Resort last Friday.
Holding a giant cheque of $79,265 for the Luke Batty Foundation, Ms Batty appeared bright and happy, sharing a giggle with the resort staff and her public relations officer.
This was a contrast to the sobering figure she strikes on The Project or Lateline.
Ms Batty was visiting Noosa for the afternoon spread, but said she had also just finished a few weeks with a local organisation that treats mental illness and addiction.
"I spent four weeks at a wonderful place called Noosa Confidential, and I spent four weeks there looking at my health and well-being in a beautiful setting with beautiful people,” she said.
"I'm feeling way better than I did, because I hadn't realised how burnt out I was.”
It's true, she did appear to have a glow to her. But whether it's a reinvigorated glow, or a subtle, humble glow shining through, it's hard to tell.
It's a glow of passion for her cause, a glow of a kind heart, a glow of overcoming incredible hardship.
And she was warm, and kind, and passionate - all things an Australian of the Year should be.
Ms Batty said the award gave her the national stage she needed to help spread her message and spearhead her campaign.
"It gave me the national platform. It comes with a lot of respect, that award itself, so it just gave you opportunities for organisations to reach out to you as a key note speaker that you wouldn't otherwise have got,” she said.
"Ultimately, it was totally overwhelming. I spoke at over 250 events, and really made the most of that platform because I could.
"It gave me the total freedom to be able to say, 'I don't care who you are, it's not about you having to pay for my services, it's about the audience I'm going to reach through that conference, through that event, to really start that conversation and the awareness raising and the ripple effect'.
"So I couldn't have achieved what I had without the platform.”
The Luke Batty Foundation website states that on average, two women a week are killed at the hands of their partner, and one woman is hospitalised every three hours.
ABC Fact Check states that one in four Australian women experienced at least one incident of violence from an intimate partner since the age of 15.
Ms Batty said as Australians, we still had a long way to go.
"We are probably 20 or 30 years behind other countries, so we are only just starting, really, to even get serious,” she said.
"That astounds me when I talk to people from Scotland, or the UK, where they go 'we were doing that 20 years ago'.
"But Australians are really great adopters, and I think that now that we've had that switch activated, I think we will be able to build on that.
"We have a culture that really is typically Australian, but I think the gender equality space, we have a long way to go.
"And bringing everybody on to that journey, so we all recognise the benefits of challenging what equality does look like.
"To be confronted, to have to think differently, it's not easy for everybody at all. But we're on the path.”
For Rosie Batty to say that we're on our way to overcoming domestic violence really just proves what kind of person she is, and that hope can shine through even during the darkest of times.
"My belief is a tragedy gives you an opportunity to make a difference. I've always admired people who do that,” she said.