Minister Rishworth interview on RPP FM with Brandon Telfer


Topics: Playgroups and toy libraries, Volunteers, Voice to Parliament

BRENDON TELFER, HOST: Today is a very special show because we have two federal ministers joining us on the line. I’m delighted to say one of our regular guests – the Member for Dunkley Peta Murphy is on the line but also the Minister for Social Services the Honourable Amanda Rishworth is joining us from Carrum Downs. Thank you very much indeed, Ministers. Good that you join us here on RPP FM.

PETA MURPHY, MEMBER FOR DUNKLEY: [Laughs] Thank you for promoting me to Minister – you can call me Minister Murphy anytime.

BRENDON TELFER: That's the aspiration that we have for you, Peta, because I'm sure one of these days your great talents are going to be recognised and we think that you have a huge future ahead of you.

AMANDA RISHWORTH, MINISTER FOR SOCIAL SERVICES: I have no doubt about that too. It's really good to be with you. I am Amanda Rishworth, the Minister for Social Services. It's wonderful to be with you.

BRENDON TELFER: Well, Amanda, thank you very much indeed for coming over here to our side of town. You've come across the border from South Australia. Today a big day for the community down there at the Lyrebird Centre as well.

AMANDA RISHWORTH: Today we were able to see what came out of a grant that we provided to the local community centre. Peta has been advocating a long time for this community centre and one of the needs that was really identified was a space that mums and dads can come with their babies and spend some time in a purpose built area that meets their needs. And this is really important to make sure parents are able to connect, that babies have a place to feel safe. And so it was really wonderful after Peta’s advocacy, that we were able to deliver the money and actually see this place come to fruition.

BRENDON TELFER: Indeed, we're very well aware of the advocacy that our local member for Dunkley does do on our behalf down here and we appreciate her work very much indeed. But also, I think it probably speaks a lot as well, I would suggest to you, Amanda, about Frankston, the dynamic that we're seeing down there in the city, which sits, of course, on top of the Mornington Peninsula. There are huge plans afoot, a lot of money going into the area. So I think it speaks a lot that you're reaching out and including a younger demographic with young families. I think it probably speaks a lot about that future.

AMANDA RISHWORTH: Absolutely, we know particularly in areas where suburbs are growing and young families are moving in, it's really important to provide them with the community space. And of course, the Federal Government is well known for its contribution to long day care, that's the childcare or daycare. But we also need to be supporting parents in more informal support. So playgroups toy libraries, those areas that have the resources, connection and support. And so really pleased that from a Federal Government perspective, we've been supporting these types of activities, particularly in those growing suburbs, because parents desperately do want to connect especially if they've just moved into an area as well.

PETA MURPHY: And Brendan, can I just give a shout out? Fiona Dannock is the manager of Lyrebird Community Centre. She's been here either as a volunteer or as the manager for 30 years and she put her heart and soul into this community. So, when she came to me and said ‘I've identified an area of need. Something we can do, which is to support, particularly first time parents, but parents with young babies to have, somewhere stimulating and comfortable to go to, to connect with others’. I just knew that I had to back her. Because, if anyone knows this community, it's Fiona. So, I want to give her that credit.

BRENDON TELFER: Congratulations to Fiona, of course, to all the volunteers. They're basically the fuel that drives our community because we here at RPP FM are your favourite local radio station, driven by volunteer power. And hopefully next time you come across Amanda, we want to introduce you to our Frankston studio because we want to get part of that conversation happening down there in Frankston as well.

AMANDA RISHWORTH: That sounds great. And I do think, as also the Minister for Volunteers federally, I cannot underestimate what volunteers bring. I've often said with volunteers you can't even put a dollar figure on it because you can't put a dollar figure on heart and soul – and that's what volunteers bring to any organisation. So, I'd love to come down and be in the studio with you.

BRENDON TELFER: That would be marvellous. We would look forward to that and the invitation is always there. Amanda Rishworth – we're speaking to today – Minister for Social Services and, of course, Dunkley MP Peta Murphy as well. Amanda, just quickly, before I want to get on to the referendum, if I may [National Plan]

AMANDA RISHWORTH: Our National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children is a critical plan and a critical issue that we need to actually address. We know that there are too many women being either killed or injured as a result of family and domestic violence. So it is a passion project of mine. We have our National Plan. We now will be talking very much about our Action Plans. We've launched two of those Action Plans – our First Nations Action Plan, along with our First Action plan. These two Action Plans are really a call for the whole community to get on board. This is all governments’ responsibility as well as the general community. And so, going forward, looking at how we can build momentum towards that.

BRENDON TELFER: Yes, indeed, very important, we'll be looking and following that story very much indeed. Let's move on to the referendum. Of course, it's sort of dominating the news cycle at the moment. I noticed and heard the Prime Minister in the last 24-hours getting extremely emotional. He's up at Uluru today of course welcoming, amongst others, Pat Farmer who's just done a circumnavigation of Australia averaging over 80 kilometres a day and completed 14,000 kilometres – a pivotal moment in Australian constitutional history. I would suggest that might even be understating it.

AMANDA RISHWORTH: I think you're right there. What you see there is Pat Farmer, someone that has put his feet to the road to demonstrate his support. And also our Prime Minister, who has been very clear that he wants to listen to our First Nations people and deliver better outcomes. Now, Pat Farmer and Anthony Albanese haven't always been on the same side of politics but for this reason they are coming together at the place where the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the concept of the Voice first came about by Aboriginal delegates at that Constitutional Convention. So, it is a momentous moment coming back. This was first put forward in 2017, now coming back in 2023 I think it provides full circle that the time is now to listen so that we can get better outcomes and to ensure that the permanency of that important mechanism is enshrined in our constitution.

BRENDON TELFER: We only have a few hours left, of course, and we go into a media blackout pretty soon. We've been trying to be very balanced down here because that seems to be the tenor of the discussion down here on the Mornington Peninsula.

AMANDA RISHWORTH: It's obvious there has to be a respectful debate, and I think you've been hearing calls from our Prime Minister and other Ministers that we've got to have a respectful debate. This is a referendum and everyone does get a vote. So it is important that everyone is respectful and that's the beauty about living in a democracy like Australia. People can have their different views. And I guess that's why I'm putting our views forward, my views, but the views of the Government, that this can lead to better outcomes and the status quo isn’t working.

BRENDON TELFER: We'll see what happens. Of course, it's going to be very, very interesting as we come up to the news seven minutes away here at Rwpfm, down here on the Mornington Peninsula. Of course, we pinch ourselves often. Minister Amanda Rishworth. when we really enjoy this beautiful part of the world and we can see that we can resolve perhaps our differences and our different political points of view. When you look at the news cycle internationally and what's going on around the world, there are days when we think to ourselves, we're in a very special place in a very special part of the world.

PETA MURPHY: I'm going to jump in here, Brendan, and say hear to that. We are in a special part of the world and I also want to say looking at what's going around the world and looking at the referendum, I've been thinking a lot recently about the role of empathy in life, but also in politics. And that idea of being able to listen to what other people say and try to take their perspective and not just think that whatever you have to say is the most important voice in the room. And I think if we could all practice a bit more empathy in terms of that debate and looking at the referendum, I think a lot more people would be looking at voting Yes. I'm still quite confident that we'll have a good showing for Yes down our way, because, as you say, we live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world and I think people know that we are privileged and that not everyone else has that privilege. And the more you practice empathy, the more I think you become aware that we need to do something to give other people the same opportunities that we have.

BRENDON TELFER: And let's protect the mechanisms that allow us to have these open debates as well, so that we never end up in the circumstances that we've been seeing on our TV sets over the last 24-hours. Peta Dunkley, thank you so much indeed for your time today. Member for Dunkley, thank you very much indeed, Peta Murphy. Always a great thrill to have you join us on the program. And thank you very much indeed Amanda Rishworth, Minister for Social Services. We thank you very much indeed for your time on RPP FM as well. As I said, the door will be thrown wide open, the red carpet will be rolled out and you will be whisked into our Frankston studio next time you're in this beautiful state and this beautiful part of Victoria.

PETA MURPHY: Look forward to it.