Minister Rishworth interview on SkyNews with Kieran Gilbert


Topics: Domestic and family violence, X and Elon Musk, Disability employment.

KIERAN GILBERT, HOST: I spoke just a short time ago to the Federal Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth. I started by asking her what more needs to be done to prevent domestic violence deaths.

AMANDA RISHWORTH, MINISTER FOR SOCIAL SERVICES: Firstly, I'd say that this is an absolutely tragic circumstance, in which we have the reports coming out that this woman has been allegedly killed by a partner or former partner and that she has allegedly experienced, these horrific sexual violence incidents as well. We're just hearing just too many stories of violence against women. This is just unacceptable. What we need to do is all work together. No one level of government or one person is going to stop this. We need all governments and all parts of government working together with one common goal in mind, and that's to end violence against women and children. Our National Plan does call out attention needing to be given to the justice system to ensure that people experiencing family and domestic and sexual violence do get heard and get the support they need. We need to all work towards that as a matter of urgency.

KIERAN GILBERT: And just in this instance, this incident, this case, this appalling situation, you can only imagine the fear for this poor young woman in the face of this alleged appalling murder in central west NSW. To put yourself in that position, it's hard to fathom the sort of situation that she had to face.

AMANDA RISHWORTH: No one should have to live with the fear of being stalked or being attacked. It is just unacceptable in Australia today. And so I can't begin to imagine what she was experiencing. But I know that what she was experiencing is unacceptable. It is absolutely appalling. My heart goes out to her family. But importantly, my resolve is there. My resolve to work across our Government, to work across all governments, to work alongside our Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Commissioner, to work alongside other governments in other areas, like justice, like the court system, like policing, to ensure that we get the best system. But of course, part of this is about prevention and early intervention. And I need to say that we need to stop things becoming a crisis. And so we do need to ensure, and our Government has been investing in prevention, early intervention, but that does take time, but we need to continue to maintain the effort.

KIERAN GILBERT: Indeed, and hopefully we can deal with this scourge, which it is a scourge in every aspect, domestic violence in this country. Let's turn to another issue. Great importance to the nation right now as well. It's the behaviour of the social media giants. I've just noticed in the last little while, Elon Musk is taunting the Government and the Prime Minister again, replying to him directly, saying, do you expect us to censor this material globally when Australian IP addresses can't access it? He is continuing to push back. I noticed you made some very strong remarks in the last 24 hours saying if he doesn't cop Australian law, well, there will be consequences. Are you willing to get rid of X or Twitter or whatever he calls it?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: Well, let's be very clear that social media companies that operate in Australia need to abide by Australian law. I mean, that is a simple fact. And I think that would be supported by Australians right across this country. Our eSafety Commissioner has protocols in which they can take down material, or order the takedown of material, which she's done. That is part of the architecture that we have in Australia to keep Australians safe, but to also ensure social cohesion in our country. Of course, what Elon Musk is doing, and X is doing, is trying to challenge the rules that we have in Australia. I think most Australians would want to see social media platforms, including X, abide by Australian law.

KIERAN GILBERT: And if they don't, can they pack their bags? Is that the message?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: I'll leave that to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Communications, but I think all have been very clear that if you want to operate in Australia, you need to abide by Australian law.

KIERAN GILBERT: Finally, you've made a significant announcement today in support. It's called the structural adjustment fund, but basically it's to help people with disabilities get back into the workforce. What's being done in this respect? And is there much more scope that Australia can pursue in getting people with disabilities into the workforce right now?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: Look, there's a lot more scope that we can do to ensure the participation of people with disabilities can be accepted and taken into the workplace. In particular, though, today I was announcing funding particularly focused on individuals with disability with very high support needs. These are typically employees that work in what are called Australian disability enterprises. And what we've announced today is funding that supports pathways from disability enterprises into open employment. So, that involves the funding of counsellors, funding the implementation of customised employment. We know that the vast majority of employers are open to taking on a person with a disability into the workplace, but a lower number actually do, and that's because they may not have the confidence, the connection or understand what possibilities there are. So, what this funding is today is particularly focused on supporting those with very high or high support needs to actually have a pathway out of Australia's disability enterprises into opportunities for promotion, into opportunities into open employment and into opportunities that some people hadn't thought possible, into customer facing roles, into hospitality work. These are all opportunities, especially at a time when so many employers are crying out for employees. There's a perfect opportunity here.