Minister Rishworth NewsChat on the Today Show


Topics: Bruce Lehrmann trial; Scams on Meta; Andrew Forrest court action; Gather Round.

SARAH ABO, HOST: Welcome back. Well, Bruce Lehrmann’s defamation case has taken a sensational turn. The trial brought against Network Ten, putting Channel Seven in the spotlight. Former producer Taylor Auerbach alleging that Bruce billed the network for a Sydney bender involving illicit drugs and sex workers. Joining us to discuss today's headlines is Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth and FiveAA's Matthew Pantelis. It's good to see you both. Now, Amanda, there's been so much public interest in this case, particularly at this point in time. Do you think it's warranted?

AMANDA RISHWORTH, MINISTER FOR SOCIAL SERVICES: Firstly, I'd say I don't want to make any comments because of the legal nature of it, but there has been a huge amount of interest in this case. I mean, obviously, at the very beginning of some of these allegations, it did spark changes, for example, in Parliament House and the work culture in Parliament House. And that's a good thing. But there is a lot of public interest and I guess that will continue until we see the outcome of where this all ends.

SARAH ABO:    Matthew, you're a man of the media. Of course, you've been on radio now for a number of years in Adelaide. Does this, do you think, drag media through the mud a little bit?

MATTHEW PANTELIS, FIVEAA RADIO HOST: Well, you know what I think, Sarah? Australians are well and truly fed up of hearing the names Bruce Lehrmann and Brittany Higgins. And I think the day can't come soon enough that we don't anymore. The person I feel sorry for the most in this is Justice Michael Lee trying to work out what's going on and no one's ever going to know what happened. Ultimately, to make sense of all of this. Has it dragged the media through the mud? No, I don't think so. Particularly when media does its job and reports on the facts.

SARAH ABO: Yeah, absolutely. We need to report on the facts happening right now. And as you said, there's a bit more to play out. Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest has taken up an unlikely fight against Facebook's parent company Meta, the Australian billionaire becoming the latest victim of scams published across the company's social media sites. I mean, we're talking about cryptocurrency here, Amanda. Investment scams that are, unfortunately, because they've got Twiggy's face on them, affecting the public. This is a fight that sadly needs to be had, isn't it?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: Quite frankly, there are too many online scams and in fact, Australia's National Anti-Scam Centre, which was set up very recently, has shown that particularly a lot of online scams are happening through Meta platforms. So, we do need to do better. Meta needs to do better when it comes to online scams. And Australians lose so much money to scams and we are working really hard as a Government to look at how we clamp down on that. But the obligation is on Meta. We need systemic change between all our social media platforms to reduce the number of scams so that Australians don't have to take this to court.

SARAH ABO: Yeah, it's interesting. Matthew, I saw it in the paper today labelled as Twiggy being the underdog. It's sort of the billionaire versus the trillionaire company?

MATTHEW PANTELIS: Exactly right. And I totally agree with Amanda. I mean, Meta through Facebook particularly, I think is out of control. I mean, I don't think it overstates it to say these companies are shaping humanity and you wouldn't trust your kids on these platforms to wander around and find what they find and the fact that they just rip money out of people in the way they do in terms of scammers being allowed on and that content not being taken down. Twiggy needs to form a class action with Dick Smith, with Gina Rinehart, all caught up in this, all fake images and deep fakes of them asking for people's money and go, a class action – billionaires against trillionaire.

SARAH ABO: Yeah I mean, it's a test case that we need, isn't it? Because as you're saying, it's children who are impacted by social media, too. This could have ongoing ramifications. Right. So, we'll see how it plays out. All right, and of course, we are in Adelaide. It's a little bit chilly at the moment, but it was gorgeous when we landed yesterday and it will clear up later. Gather Round, mark two. It's here again. How good is it?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: It is such a great thing for South Australia, as a parochial South Australian. Look behind us. Look in front of us. There is a buzz in our city. People will see everything our state has and our city has on show. But such an exciting buzz and so many fans out here supporting their colours. It's really wonderful.

SARAH ABO: We've got a couple of Crows or Ports supporters? What have we got here?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: I'm a Crows supporter.

SARAH ABO: So a bit down after yesterday?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: I was at the game, but I've sort of got a challenge in our household because my two sons go for Geelong. Me and my husband don't know what happened, but it's a slight challenge in our household at the moment.

MATTHEW PANTELIS: We went through your slump a couple of years back, so we feel for you to a degree, I suppose, Amanda. But never mind. You can feel it, Sarah. I mean, last year it took us by surprise, I think, in Adelaide. Just how big and how good this was. We were more prepared for it this year. I went up to Mount Barker yesterday where a couple of games have been played and people there are just so pumped up in the Adelaide Hills.

SARAH ABO: And that's the thing because it's being played in Mount Barker and Norwood Oval. Like it is great to get it around, but it's wonderful for us to be back. Love a bit of footy, don't we? Thanks so much for joining us as well you guys.