5AA Breakfast with David and Will


WILL GOODINGS: There's a story that will develop next week in cities and states right around the country. The Federal Government is commissioning a meeting of state and territory ministers to engage in key policy priorities for women. One of the key players in this is a South Australian MP and the Federal Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth. Minister, good morning.

AMANDA RISHWORTH: Good morning. Great to be with you.

DAVID PENBERTHY: Thanks for joining us, Minister. Now, look, obviously there's been a lot of talk about this National Plan to end violence against women and children within the next decade. The statistics suggest that there's still a hell of a lot of work to be done. What are the specific measures that the ministers are going to be talking about today to try to stem the constant drumbeat of deaths and injuries from domestic violence?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: Yeah. Look, thanks for that. I mean, I think it's still really concerning, as you said, that one woman dies in Australia every nine days at the hands of their current or former partner. So this is a really significant issue. So there's a number of things we'll be discussing, but really it is to make sure that we have landed the National Plan, or that we land the National Plan that will take us for the next ten years. This has really important pillars looking at not just how we deliver services after the fact, but of course making sure that also we've got prevention in there as well. We need to be looking in the prevention space as well as making sure that there are the right services, and of course recovery and healing as well. So these are the pillars that we will be discussing, but of course, getting commitments and getting buy-ins from, not just the Commonwealth, but all the states and territories is also really, really important. And for me, I see this as a really first priority. Our government's already been talking about one of our first legislative acts will be legislating domestic and family violence leave to make sure that women don't have to choose whether they quit their job to leave a relationship, that they can have time off work. So we'll be discussing all of these priorities next Friday in Adelaide.

DAVID PENBERTHY: I know you want to focus on prevention. What about just locking up the scumbags who hit women? I mean, there's part of the conversation you actually need to be about appropriately punishing people.

WILL GOODINGS: [Talks over] Totally. One hundred per cent.

AMANDA RISHWORTH: Well, absolutely there's got to be consequences to actions. But I think there's got to be an awareness piece that starts much earlier on with young people. And with young people it is about making sure that there's actually respectful relationships. I mean, that is one critical important part that we actually tackle. But absolutely, for those people that have done the wrong thing, we do need to make sure that there's consequences. But also, we do need to look at interventions for those perpetrators as well. So it's about not leaving any stone unturned to make sure that we actually tackle this because just doing what we've done in the past hasn't been enough, and so we've got to do better.

WILL GOODINGS: Yeah. I don't know. I mean, I sort of wonder sometimes, like, whether the- herding all the Year 3 students together to talk to them about gendered language. Like, as noble as that might be, it feels like you actually need, with these meetings Minister, to get the Attorneys General around the table as well because so often when we catch up with our Court Reporter, Sean Fewster from The Tiser, we hear cases where blokes who've done shocking things for years and for years and for years and- I mean, I spend a lot of time covering things like the Garr/Woodford Inquiry, where the bloke who killed her had raped other women multiple times and was allowed to return to the community where he'd actually raped someone before. And it feels like the only people who haven't got the memo about White Ribbon Day, yada yada yada, are the judges.

AMANDA RISHWORTH: Well, look, absolutely. As I said, consequences matter and we need an effective response. I mean, sometimes- over the years we've had much better training for police in terms of response. There was a time when people sort of said if violence happens in the home, it's none of our business. I mean, that was…

WILL GOODINGS: [Interrupts] Yeah, that's true.

AMANDA RISHWORTH: …obviously the attitude. And I think we have come some way to that but, you know, we do have to work towards, for example, not forcing the women and children to leave the home. Is there a way that the perpetrator can be removed as well? But these are a gamut of things. We've got to look right across the spectrum though. I think that's really important to make sure that we're looking right across the spectrum, because I take your points about- it's much more than gendered language. It is really about respect for everyone and keeping in mind the respectful relationships. But at that point again, you're absolutely right. We do need to make sure that our court system and our legal system responds appropriately as well.

WILL GOODINGS: Good stuff. Amanda Rishworth, South Australia's own Labor MP. Member for Kingston, and also the Federal Minister for Social Services. Thanks for joining us this morning.