Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten link arms to stand up to Family Violence in Indigenous Communities

In Rirratjingu culture, there is a sacred, rarely seen ceremony that honours the two Djan'kawu sisters who created life on earth. On Monday at Parliament House, it was the powerful opening scene of an event demanding an end to family violence in Indigenous communities.

Dancers came from North East Arnhem Land to join the biggest achievement so far of the No More campaign, a gathering that saw Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, dozens of other MPs and Gurindji journalist Charlie King link arms to call for change.

"They were holy and sacred," Rirratjingu elder Witiyana Marika said of the sisters. "Women are holy. Because they are creators, they bring life, our offspring."

The No More campaign, led by King, has taken hold amid the appalling rates of violence facing Indigenous communities, where women are 11 times more likely than non-Indigenous women to be murdered as a result of family violence and 34 times more likely to be hospitalised.

The aim of the campaign - which has reduced violence in almost all the communities that have adopted it - is to stand up to offending men, imploring them to change, and encourage organisations to adopt domestic violence action plans.

It has been strongly backed by Northern Territory police, community leaders and prominent Aboriginal women Professor Marcia Langton and Josephine Cashman, a lawyer and member of the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council.

The Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation praised the show of unity as a way of elevating the issue to the national stage.

"Symbolism is important. And now we need action. That's more important," chairman Bakamumu Marika said.

"What we would like to see is a requirement for domestic violence action plans in government tender documents – if you don't have a good plan, you don't get a government contract."

Some Indigenous and family violence policy observers have questioned the government's commitment to solving the issues, pointing to sweeping funding cuts for community legal centres, women's shelters and Indigenous programs since 2014.

The Turnbull government has unveiled a $100 million women's safety package, including $21 million for Indigenous-specific programs. Last month, Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion outlined $25 million for therapy, diversion programs, case management and legal services in communities.

Professor Langton said the ceremony at Parliament House shows family violence is not cultural: "The Rirratjingu are saying it's exactly the opposite - we have to love and respect women because they created the world."

"That the Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, all these senators and members of the House here today have linked arms and with Charlie King...is profoundly important to Aboriginal women and children across the country and to all those Aboriginal men who do not commit to violence and who are opposed to violence."

King called on people and organisations across Australia to "march all the time" against these crimes and said the positive stories should be appreciated, observing the Rirratjingu community's success at reducing family violence by 27.9 per cent.

"That's extraordinary, isn't it?" he said.