A public vigil after the murder of Eurydice Dixon (Image: AAP/Julian Smith)

The politics of violence in Australia has been a bizarre public issue for the past decade or so. With the recent release of the fourth action plan into "prevention of violence against women and their children" it shows no sign of becoming any less so.

The latest document is an update on the 10-year federal strategy auspices by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2010. It’s designed to take the policy into the 2020s. To judge by the report in the The Sydney Morning Herald, you’d wonder why they would, since it suggests that the strategy has conceded defeat, with the melancholy observation that the rates of violence against women and children (VAWC) are unlikely to be further changed by social policy per se. Rather, they will be reduced simply by wider social change such as increased education levels and greater financial independence for women. This, the thinking goes, will gradually winnow away the legitimation of inequality held to be at the root of VAWC.