Minister Rishworth and Assistant Minister Elliot press conference in Adelaide


JUSTINE ELLIOT, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR THE PREVENTION OF FAMILY VIOLENCE: I'm Justine Elliot. I'm the Assistant Minister for Social Services and the Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence. We're here in Adelaide today for a really important launch of this campaign Consent Can't Wait. And it's so important that all of us in the community have those conversations about consent and we all get that skill set there, so we can talk to other adults and indeed younger people as well. So I encourage everyone to go to that webpage,, and learn some of those skills about having those conversations so that everyone throughout the community understands consent a lot more. Now, I'd now like to hand over to minister Amanda Rishworth, who officially launched this campaign today.

AMANDA RISHWORTH, MINISTER FOR SOCIAL SERVICES: Today we are launching what has been a very important campaign. Making it clear that our understanding and learning about consent cannot wait. Because particularly young people are very keen to understand what does consent mean? What our research in developing this campaign showed is that many adults and many young people are very interested in having the conversation about consent, but don't know necessarily how, don't know all the details. And what this Consent Can't Wait campaign does is ensures that we are inviting, particularly adults that have an influence in young people's lives – that might be parents, that might be grandparents, that might be other adults in a person's life – get to check their understanding of consent. They can go to this website and really check their understanding of what consent means, how does that practically look like? And then also encourage them and enable them to have that conversation with young people in their lives. We know that while a lot of adults know that making sure consent is present in intimate relationships is really important there is some confusion, and there is some lack of confidence in having these conversations. So this is about inviting people across Australia, particularly adults, to check their understanding of consent, to engage and to better understand when and where consent is important and where to have those conversations. But importantly, also have those conversations with young people. And so I would absolutely encourage everyone to check out the website to engage with the resources and materials because this is important that we have a shared understanding across the country of what consent is so that we can all have constructive conversations, whether it's with other adults or whether it is with young people. This is how we're going to ensure that we have respectful relationships promoted in this country. I'll know now hand over to Daniel who's played a very important part as an ambassador in this campaign.

DANIEL PRINCIPE, CAMPAIGN AMBASSADOR AND YOUTH EDUCATOR: I'm delighted to be an ambassador for this campaign. I'm so grateful for the Government and the Ministers to put together what I think is an essential conversation. I see this as an invitation for all of us to be having conversations that matter. In my work with young people all across Australia I see thousands of young boys and all young people willing and ready to have these conversations. I see their empathy. I see their care. It's our role to continue to guide them into having what are going to be transformational conversations not just in their lives, but cross-culturally. This is something that the research shows that young people want to have these conversations and it's our role as the adults to equip them to do so well. This has benefits not just for them, for who they are as individuals, but for their relationships and all of life. These are the essential soft skills and tools that we all need to thrive in life and so I am delighted that this campaign is comprehensive and it is an incredible invitation for all of us. It shouldn't just be people like me having these conversations with young people. They tell me they are so open and ready to have these conversations with the people that love and care for the most.

JOURNALIST: From your experience. What sets this current campaign apart to previous ones run by the government?

DANIEL PRINCIPE: I see this campaign as comprehensive. It addresses the elephant in the room – the biggest Department of Education young men are facing which is the global porn industry. This is the first campaign that has engaged faithfully with what is a default sex educator for young people and giving them the tools to actually dissect the messages that they receive about consent, respect, violence, shared pleasure, mutuality and actually inviting them to consider is this healthy for them? Is this equipping them to form the kinds of relationships that are going to be mutually satisfying, safe and consensual?

JOURNALIST: Daniel, where do you see we've gone wrong in the past with campaigns, you know the milkshake, one being quite a standout?

DANIEL PRINCIPE: The difference with this campaign is it's an invitation for us to be honest and real. I love that it allows us all to say ‘hey, I may not have all the answers but I'm gonna find out’. It's an invitation to say, ‘hey, my young person is growing up in a very different world to the one I lived in. And so it gives me an opportunity to connect with them’. Young people want to be the expert. They want to be asked what they know and how they can contribute and take these conversations forward. And I see this as both bringing empathy, care and a real honesty. And for me, it's the unified desire to have this is what we think is just absolutely essential for all of our healthy, respectful and consensual relationships.

JOURNALIST: If you don’t mind me asking, what's motivated you to make this your life's work?

DANIEL PRINCIPE: It's a good question. The reality is that sexual violence has affected so many people I know and love and so many people we all know and love. We don't get just get here because of statistics. We're here because this cuts to the core of what so many Australians millions have been affected directly by because of this, and many more seeing others hurt and harmed. And so we all want to play a part in minimising this harm. But more than that, hoping that young people are especially going to have healthy, safe, positive, respectful relationships into the future.

JOURNALIST: Given what's happening across the country, what continues to happen in terms of violence against women do you wish campaign like this was launched sooner?

DANIEL PRINCIPE: Of course, we always wish we could do more sooner. You know, there is such an urgency to address this but I'm grateful the research, the unified voice that's gone into this like seeing people speaking out especially on the harms of pornography and the need to engage on consent. Now, I welcome this. I'm just grateful to be part of this and seeing government, both sides bipartisan support, saying this is just important for all of us.

JOURNALIST: Minister, the Morrison government's attempt at a consent campaign, which included the milkshake analogy, was heavily criticised. Do you hope this consent campaign will avoid a similar fate?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: When we developed this consent campaign, we went first to the evidence of what works. We put together an expert advisory committee of people with deep expertise, experience and evidence who have been working in this area for a long time. They helped shape this campaign and provided their expert knowledge. In addition, we did extensive research with parents, carers, grandparents, to speak with them honestly, about what they needed to know what they wanted to know. As Daniel said, to ensure that this was about an invitation. We're not hectoring people or lecturing people with this campaign. We're inviting them to get a better understanding and to share that understanding with young people in their life to have a conversation. We also spoke to young people and what came out very, very clearly was that young people want to have this conversation. They want to be able to talk about it with adults in their lives. So the extensive research – over 2000 people were spoken with and researched – along with our expert advisory committee. So we believe that we use the best evidence, the best experts, and I believe that by doing the research and construction that way, we have developed what will be I think a widely recognised and congratulated campaign.

JOURNALIST: Minister, greater awareness also leads to more pressure on frontline services. Will there be more money for the many services that are already at breaking point to cope with the influx of people seeking help?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: What this campaign does is importantly, encourage young people and adults to have a conversation. This campaign, the Commonwealth Government is investing $40 million. But in the most recent budget, we brought our total spending to $3.4 billion in women’s safety and indeed that covers gender-based violence. That includes investment in frontline services. It includes investment in 1800RESPECT, a critical first point of contact, where advice as well as brief intervention can be accessed. So there is a range of resources that we are investing on. In combination and collaboration with state and territory governments. The National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children is owned by all state, territory and Commonwealth governments and we will continue to work together to ensure that we have, importantly, resources on the ground but also national consciousness raising activities such as this consent campaign, to make sure that these conversations happen, both in response to ensuring that people are comfortable to have these conversations, but also in the important role it plays in prevention.

JOURNALIST: Minister, these same frontline services, though are saying that they're having to turn away women and children because of lack of funding. Will there be more funding?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: As I said this is a joint responsibility between the Commonwealth and states and territories, and we have invested $3.4 billion into women's safety – that is the record amount that the Commonwealth has ever invested and that includes frontline services, both through the National Partnerships Agreements with the states and territories where that funding was due to end under the previous government, but also extra frontline workers. We've provided that money to states and territories. We've also announced obviously in this Budget, the Leaving Violence Program, which has now been made permanent. That program doesn't just provide $5000 worth of support for women escaping domestic violence, but also, importantly, provides a case management, risk assessment and intervention. So we are investing right across the domains of our National Plan, and we will continue to work in partnership. But this consent campaign cannot be under-estimated. We said in our National Plan, that we would elevate sexual violence as an issue in this country. That hasn't been elevated in part in the past and that is why you're seeing this consent campaign and the significant money invested in this consent campaign, because it is elevating the important prevention work that needs to occur when it comes to sexual violence. But most importantly, promoting healthy relationships. And one of the keys to this is ensuring that we are promoting healthy relationships and encouraging these conversations.

JOURNALIST: Minister, after the National Cabinet meeting on gender-based violence you promised to look at unified state bail laws, a national offender registry and deep fake bans. Has there been any progress in that space?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: The National Cabinet happened only a couple of weeks ago. And of course, the states and territories are working on bail laws. We've already seen New South Wales announce their changes to the bail laws. Obviously that is the responsibility of states and territories and the Commonwealth has played a role in coordinating that. In terms of deep fakes and the age of assurance we are working through that. These are clear commitments that our Government has given around age assurances. When it comes to online harms that is work that is currently underway. And of course, putting legislation in to ban the use of deep fake pornography is critically important. These are things that we're working very clearly on and working with the states and territories. The Prime Minister has been clear that there'll be another National Cabinet later this year to report on the work that's being done. But equally there are many other really important pieces of work that are progressing at this time, like our National Perpetrator Risk Assessment that we are working towards so that it is not just focused on the risk assessment of a victim survivor, but also looking at the risk of a perpetrator. There is work going in, programs currently being rolled out that are about ensuring that adolescent boys in particular that may have experienced family and domestic violence, actually get the intervention early so that the cycle doesn't continue. So we must continue to tackle this on a number of areas including investment in prevention, early intervention, response and healing and recovery. And we will work with states and territories and indeed the whole community. And I might say that this consent campaign is about encouraging everyone to play a role, everyone to play a role. Businesses play a role. Organisations, whether they be sporting organisations or other organisations play a role. Institutions play a role. Governments, of course, play a role. We've all got to work together. And what this consent campaign is encouraging and empowering in fact, adults that have young people in their life to play that role as well.

JOURNALIST: Minister, the 29th and 30th women have died violently at the hands of a man this year, which is 11 more than this time last year. Do you think your National Plan to End Violence against Women is working?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: Let's be really clear. It's not my plan. This plan is a plan that victim-survivors themselves contributed to. It is a plan that was widely consulted, that all states and territories have signed up to and so this plan is important. And as Rosie Batty said ‘we've got the plan, let's start to execute it’. And so that is what we are committed to doing. And I will continue to do that. In terms of the events that happened in Western Australia. Of course, my heart and condolences goes out to all of those affected. Violence like this, that has been reported, is obviously incredibly tragic and everyone that's been affected by this, I send my absolute condolences. In terms of the details of these deaths, I'm going to leave that to the West Australian police who are currently investigating that incident.

JOURNALIST: Is the national dashboard that is going to record the violent deaths of women is that on track to launch?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: Let's be clear – what the dashboard does is the dashboard is due to report on intimate partner homicides. That is what was announced? And it is on track to be launched.


AMANDA RISHWORTH: It is on track to be launched mid-year. But let's be clear, it is reporting on intimate partner homicide. That's what it was announced to do. And that's what it will do. Thank you.