Interview with Justine Elliot, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Prevention of Family Violence


MIM HOOK: Justine Elliot is Assistant Minister for Social Services and Prevention of Family Violence. Good morning, Justine.

JUSTINE ELLIOTT: Good morning, Mim. Great to be with you.

MIM HOOK: You too. Now, what's going on? There's a competition that you're running at the moment. Tell us all about it.

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Yes. This is a new competition and we're encouraging young Australians to write or draw, do an illustration around the theme of respect, and we're encouraging young people to consider about what respect means to them. This is an Australia wide competition for school students aged 10 to 14 years. It's part of a broader national campaign, and that's called Stop it at the Start and you may have seen some of that campaign over the years. The Stop it at the Start campaign aims to help break the cycle of violence by encouraging adults to reflect on their own attitudes and start a conversation about respect with young people. We can all do that, all adults - parents, grandparents community members, teachers. We've all got a role to play in influencing how young people understand respectful relationships.

So, as part of that broader campaign, we've got this Respect Stories competition. As I said, it involves school students aged 10 to 14 years, and we're asking them to have a think about the idea of respect and have a conversation with people about it, and then submit either a written piece of up to a thousand words - that can be a short story or a poem or an essay; or they could do a drawing, a creative illustration as well. There'll be eight written and two illustrative winners selected from schools across Australia, and they'll each receive a $500 gift cards for themselves and another one for their school library.

So, I encourage young people and their families to start that conversation about respect - it's really important. That's what when the whole campaign is about getting everyone talking about the issue of respect. We know how much, how important it is that adults play in this particular part of it. Because young people, they pick up so many things from people in terms of what they say, their gestures, the words we choose. So, we really want to encourage young people to think about what respect means. Please get involved, submit an essay or a poem, do a drawing about what respect means to you.

MIM HOOK: Justine, what will happen with these drawings and poems? Will they be collated somewhere so that they can all be celebrated and looked at?

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Yeah. They will, Mim. No, they will be published in a National Respect Stories book, as well as, of course, receiving those gift cards as well for themselves and their school library. So I'd really encourage younger people, their parents, teachers, to get involved. They can go to the website, stories, and hop on there and have a look.

But really importantly, Mim, I'd really encourage everyone to get involved and have that conversation. We know it's important to do that. We need to raise awareness about having respectful conversations and how we treat one another, what words we use. It's really important to do that and this is all part of that broader Stop it at the Start campaign.

MIM HOOK: Thank you very much, Justine. Cheers.


MIM HOOK: Assistant State Minister for Social Service and Prevention of Family Violence Minister, Justine Elliott