Minister Rishworth interview on Weekend Sunrise


SALLY BOWREY: Ministers for women and women's safety from across the country met in Adelaide yesterday for the first time to discuss the 10 year plan [to prevent violence against women and children]. It'll include financial security, as well as personal safety for women and children.

MICHAEL USHER: The Albanese Government is giving itself credit for making quick inroads on these DV issues, pointing out the previous government only held five meetings on women's safety without any action. So for more we're joined by Amanda Rishworth, the Federal Minister for families and social services. Amanda, good morning to you. Thanks for joining us.

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

MICHAEL USHER: Talk us through the meeting. I mean, I think some of the specifics we’d be keen to hear about are: money, security, safety. They're the three key things that keep women trapped in terrible situations. What can be done to shore up each of those areas so that they can leave and feel safe and secure? 

AMANDA RISHWORTH: What we progressed yesterday was the National Plan which has four key areas. The areas you’re talking about how we support women with financial security, housing in particular - having a place to go is one really important part of the response - but part of the National Plan also involves prevention and early intervention. They are also critical parts if we are going to achieve our goal of ending violence against women and children. The Plan also discusses what goals we might set for ourselves in that 10 year period. And the group was very clear that our ultimate goal must be to end violence against women and children. So a very important plan. Housing, gender equality is part of that, making sure that women are safe but also secure. Another part that we did talk about was family and domestic violence leave. This is something that the Albanese government is introducing in legislation into the Parliament in our first sitting period. This will have 10 days of paid family domestic violence leave to ensure that a woman who might be escaping domestic violence doesn't have to choose between leaving and her job. So these were all really important discussions that we had yesterday. But importantly, the group of ministers said that we need to get this plan done. And so we set a timeframe of finalising this by October. 

SALLY BOWREY: How will the Government actually track their outcomes to show they're making progress? Because these are very big goals that you are setting out. How will you actually track that?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: Actually trying to get the goals in place is one thing but collecting data is really important and so all states and territories and the Commonwealth resolved to work on that data collection to make sure that there is data that is consistent across states and territories in terms of reporting. Because if we don't collect data in a consistent way, then we won't know if we are making progress. So in addition to the goals that were broadly set out, the states and territories all had a resolve along with the Commonwealth to collect data so that we can tell whether we're making a meaningful difference and make sure that we're on track to end violence against women and children. Obviously, sometimes prevalence can go up if more people are reporting. But we've got to see that more reporting is a good thing in some circumstances because it means women and children are feeling comfortable to go to organisations or authorities to report their violence. 

SALLY BOWREY: All right, well, there is certainly a long way to go, considering some of those statistics that one woman dies every 10 days at the hands of a partner. Minister, thank you for your time this morning.