Minister Ruston interview – Sunrise

E&OE…

NATALIE BARR:

This morning the Australian Government is launching its first podcast. Project Ari is a fictional storytelling series aimed at ending the domestic violence scourge gripping our country. The podcast features the voices of Nova's Wippa, Kate Ritchie, and Cameron Daddo. It's part of the Government's Stop it at the Start campaign which aims to inspire and promote acceptable behaviour towards women and respectful relationships in young Australians. Minister for Women's Safety, Anne Ruston joins us now from Adelaide. Minister, good morning to you. One woman a week in this country is killed by a current or a former partner. How do you hope this podcast will help curb that?

MINISTER RUSTON:

Obviously, we have to continue to provide the support to people who are escaping domestic violence and making sure that that horrible statistic that you've just refer to not only goes down, but is completely obliterated. One of the ways we're going to do this and the only way that we can actually hope to achieve that is if we actually prevent the violence from happening in the first place. Today, we're launching a specific tool, amongst many that we've got, that's focused entirely on helping children, particularly younger children, understand the importance of respectful behaviour. And so that's what the podcasts with Ari are all about.

NATALIE BARR:

So, what age children should we be discussing these kind of tricky subjects, I guess, with our kids?

MINISTER RUSTON:

I don't think there's ever too young for children to understand what respectful behaviour is all about. I think from as soon as your children can communicate they need to understand what respectful behaviour is. But this particular initiative, the podcast, is about focusing on primary school aged children and it's a really fun way for them to engage with a really important subject, and it also will help parents and teachers and other influences of children. Sometimes it’s a little hard to start the conversation and hopefully Ari and his friends will help those parents and influencers to be able to have a conversation with younger children.

NATALIE BARR:

So what types of things will you be covering?

MINISTER RUSTON:

The idea is that Ari is an artificial intelligence robot and he takes everything terribly literally and what it demonstrates is if you take things literally sometimes it actually has very, very bad outcomes. And some of the things in the story about Ari show how disrespectful behaviour can accidentally occur, simply because you're not thinking about the impact of your language on somebody else. So, it's a series of stories that have got morals to them, that actually show how, if you do the right thing you can improve the respectful behaviour that young children are having amongst each other. But it's very, very focused on young children being able to understand, because it talks to them in their language, on their terms - it's in the schoolyard basically.

NATALIE BARR:

Yeah. Good place to start, isn't it? Anne, thank you very much, we really appreciate it this morning. The Australian Government and Nova's new Project Ari is available right now.

ENDS