Indigenous actress Nakkiah Lui thought she was to blame for the domestic violence she suffered.

The final episode of Q&A for 2016 was never going to be without heated debate, and thanks to topics ranging from Donald Trump’s recent election win the Racial Discrimination Act, it didn’t disappoint. But it was the story of Indigenous screenwriter and actress Nakkiah Lui’s experience with domestic violence that left everyone speechless.

Appearing on Monday night’s episode of the ABC panel show alongside host Tony Jones, Liberal senator Eric Abetz, Labor frontbencher Terri Butler, The Australian‘s Greg Sheridan and writer Benjamin Law, Lui told the audience, “I remember standing in front of the police with my busted lip at the house I was at with my partner at the time and just thinking to myself, ‘You stupid Aboriginal girl. You are so disappointing and you’re disappointing to your community’.”

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Nakkiah Lui on Q&A. Source: ABC.

Lui's comment came after a member of the audience asked the panel, “In light of the astonishing revelations made about indigenous violence against women and children at the National Press Club lunch last week, and the culture of silence and political correctness that makes us tip-toe around indigenous sensitivities, are we facing an intractable problem and what is the chance of reconciliation if these issues are not addressed and solved?”

The Press Club address, presented by Aboriginal women Professor Marcia Langton, Jacinta Price and Josephine Cashman showed that nationally, Indigenous women are 34 times more likely to hospitalised because of domestic violence and 60 times more likely to experience a head injury than non-Indigenous women and talked about the epidemic issue.


Titled Ending the Violence in Indigenous Communitiesthe address has received widespread media coverage since airing last Thursday.

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Nakkiah Lui and Q&A host Tony Jones. Source: ABC.

Answering the audience member's question, Lui began, “What we need to be very wary of is making claims with big broad brushstrokes such as indigenous sensitivity, political correctness, or blaming or making this to be a racial issue. It doesn’t just affect race or a cultural group, this is across the country.”

The creator of ABC show Black Comedy continued, “I’m from Mount Druitt which is an urban Aboriginal community and the reason I say we should not talk in big brushstrokes is when we start demonising Aboriginal men, what we’re also doing is demonising Aboriginal women."

“Whether we’re saying domestic violence and perpetrating that is inherent to Aboriginal men, we’re saying being victims is inherent to Aboriginal women."

Speaking about her direct experience with domestic violence, Lui went on, “I didn’t realise this stigma until I was a victim of domestic violence myself and my mother was a survivor of domestic violence. She worked with women in the community who were victims."

"It wasn’t until I remember standing in front of the police with my busted lip at the house I was at with my partner at the time and just thinking to myself, ‘You stupid Aboriginal girl. You are so disappointing and you’re disappointing to your community’. I thought it was me being a victim of domestic violence was inherent to who I was as a person. That’s why we need to not paint broad brushstrokes.”

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Labor MP Terri Butler. Source: ABC.

The 30-year-old then said, “I think for me growing up with this idea that, you know, because we blame Aboriginal people for their own disadvantage so often, that when you do find yourself in a situation where so many women are vulnerable, where you are the victim, you cannot help but take responsibility."

“That happens so often in this country that women, especially vulnerable women who don’t have historically a great relationship with the police or institutions don’t reach out to institutions. “Therefore our institutions aren’t really equipped to handle it and therefore nothing is changing.”

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Liberal senator Eric Abetz. Source: ABC.

Queensland Labor MP Terri Butler agreed, saying that cuts made by the Coalition government to homeless shelters, women's shelters and community legal centres are all worsening the problem.

Senator Abetz largely agreed, saying, “It is a crime. And we should not tolerate it and call it domestic violence as though somehow it is not a crime. It is a scourge within our community and we should be dealing with it as such."

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Nakkiah Lui on Q&A. Source: ABC.

The staunchly conservative senator, however, believes that the community needs to take a more active role in "calling out" domestic violence and removing women at risk from their homes.

But Lui stood her ground, replying, “I disagree with you, Eric. I think the Government does have a responsibility to the lives of the victims of domestic violence within Australia... The onus does fall on them. That’s why they’re our Government."