A politician who refused to join a standing ovation for Australian of the Year Rosie Batty after she addressed parliament on family violence said he did so because the issue has "incredible sensitivity" for him.

Victorian Liberal MP Graham Watt did not join the other 127 state MPs who gave Ms Batty a standing ovation after she addressed a historic joint sitting of the state parliament.

Mr Watt also refused to join standing ovations for at least one other family violence speaker, and belatedly stood for others.



"For very personal and private reasons I chose not to stand," Mr Watt said.

"Family violence is an issue of incredible sensitivity to me and my family and at some point I will be making a public contribution about the indiscriminate nature of family violence.

"I am very passionate about dealing with the scourge of family violence and supporting all those who are victims of it, male and female."

Mr Watt revealed in March last year that one of his family members had been a victim of abuse.

"In my case, I did not know for a very long time that it was happening to a member of my family," he said. "Others in my family did, and they did nothing about it.

"I went for 10 years without speaking to a member of my family because of their attitudes and inaction in this regard."

He also highlighted that both men and women are victims of violence.

"Violence is never acceptable in any form, whether it be male against female, female against male, male against male or brother against sister. It does not matter who it is."


Ms Batty spoke to all Victorian MPs on Friday, before six other speakers addressed the lower house about family violence.

Mr Watt stood and clapped for Kristy McKellar, who spoke about the horrific assaults her husband unleashed on her.

He refused to stand for Rodney Vlais from No To Violence and the Men's Referral Service.

Ms Batty rose to national prominence following the death of her 11-year-old son Luke.

The boy was fatally stabbed by his father Greg Anderson in front of horrified onlookers at a cricket ground in the small town of Tyabb, south-east of Melbourne, in February 2014.

Mr Anderson - who had been the subject of an apprehended violence order (AVO) taken out by Ms Batty - was shot by police at the scene and died in hospital.

Following Luke's death, Ms Batty established the Luke Batty Foundation to assist women and children affected by domestic violence.

She was named Australian of the Year in January 2015.