Assistant Minister Elliot on ABC Radio Brisbane


REBECCA LEVINGSTON: In Australia, one woman dies every ten days at the hands of their former or current partner. One in three women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15 and one in five has experienced sexual violence. We want that to end. 

Today, the Federal Government will hand down their National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children. It's an ambitious, decade long plan the Government hopes will be a generational game changer. 

Justine Elliot is the Assistant Minister for Social Services and the Prevention of Family Violence. Justine, good morning. 

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Morning, Rebecca. 

REBECCA LEVINGSTON: Give us the vision. What is the aspiration of this plan? 

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Well, Rebecca, as you said, today, we're launching our National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children. And we want to see that end within a generation, this has to stop. 

And as you said in your introduction, we know that one woman is killed by a current or former partner every ten days. The fact is violence against women and children in our country is a national disgrace and we all have to work together to end it, and we're releasing this important national plan today. And it's been formulated with the Commonwealth Government and all the states. It's about involving everybody, everyone in the community - businesses, families, individuals, everybody has a part to play to make sure we can see violence against women and children end in one generation. And we have to do this, it's at epidemic proportions.

REBECCA LEVINGSTON: Can you give us some specifics, and perhaps start in the short term, in terms of what you want to change in order to get that generational change? 

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Well, Rebecca, there's essentially four parts to the plan. First of all, prevention - that's really important in terms of raising awareness, particularly for younger people. Understanding respectful relationships, changing attitudes in the community. Another part is early intervention. If there are concerns, providing assistance for people, providing counselling and support. Another really important part is how we respond to domestic violence in terms of providing crisis accommodation for people to be able to move into somewhere safe. And another really important part of the plan, this is a new part that is about the recovery and the healing - making sure the long term support is there for victim survivors.

And Rebecca, at the heart of this plan, we have worked right across the community. But what we have listened to very closely are the voices of victim survivors and what they need.

So we have those four parts of the plan. And of course when it comes to the Albanese Labor Government's commitment to ending violence, we've announced some measures already - one of our election commitments - 500 more community workers right across the country, $100 million for crisis and transitional housing. We've also got the ten days paid family and domestic violence leave as well. 

We know there's a lot to be done, but I can absolutely tell you the Federal Government, working with all the states and territories is absolutely committed to this outcome. We have to end violence against women and children.

REBECCA LEVINGSTON: Yeah. And no one Justine Elliot is going to argue with that. I guess it's the practicalities of making it happen. Just before you came on, in our AM programme Kate Fitzgibbons, the Director of the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre, said it will take a billion-dollar commitment to tackle violence against women. Do you agree with that figure?

JUSTINE ELLIOT: I certainly heard what she said and we know it takes a major commitment. And we do have our budget coming up next week and we have already acknowledged some major commitment to funding. We know there is more to do and we will keep working with the states over the time of this national plan. 

We all recognise there's a lot more to do and a lot of the elements of this plan we want to see rolled out across the country. Particularly also, the prevention - we really have to focus on that. We have to be talking to young people about respectful relationships. If we're going to change this in a generation, we have to change young people's views so that our children and their children are living in a different world because of the actions we take today. 

REBECCA LEVINGSTON: So is there a funding allocation tied to this announcement today? 

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Well, yes, we do have a $1.3 billion commitment when it comes to the national plan for a whole host of initiatives. We've announced some of that so far. As I said, the $160 million for the additional 500 frontline workers, $100 million for crisis and transitional housing, we know that's really important. And also, of course, the access to ten days paid family and domestic violence leave. 

REBECCA LEVINGSTON: Justine Elliot is the Assistant Minister for Social Services and the Prevention of Family Violence. Today, the Federal Government will announce their ten-year national plan committed to eliminating violence against women and children by the time children born today become adults. This is game changing generational change the Government is seeking. 

And I want to hear from you on this. Whether you've been in a domestic violence situation, perhaps you work in the sector What do you think will help? What will bring about that change? 1300 222 612 or send me a text 0467922612. 

Justine Elliot, you're the Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence. I don't know whether you've had time to look at the commission of inquiry that's playing out here in Queensland right now with the Queensland Police Service looking at responses to domestic violence situations. Have you been across that?

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Well, Rebecca, I understand that inquiry is underway and we will be reporting later in the year, and of course we'll be looking to the recommendations from that inquiry. But more broadly, talking about the plan, part of that also looks at having specialised and targeted planning for police and training for police and the judiciary and the legal profession as well. We understand that's a broader element and that's actually included in our national plan.

REBECCA LEVINGSTON: I raise that because some serious questions are being asked about the responses of police, particularly in family violence situations. And Daphne at Chapel Hill has just messaged in response to hearing you this morning saying, my young son and I were victims of severe and sinister domestic violence for 15 years in Brisbane. There was only one thing we needed and never got - the arrest and incarceration of the perpetrator. Education, housing and other visions and plans are meaningless without the perpetrator being tracked down. 

Minister, are you hoping to see some shift there, you know, from organisations like police, even the legal system when it comes to punishment for domestic violence offences?

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Well, Rebecca, also part of the plan, a big focus of the plan too is on accountability of offenders - we know that's vitally important and that's something also I know all the states are committed to as well. In fact, just last week the Queensland Government introduced their legislation about coercive control, you know how that is a part of domestic violence, and they and other states are taking that action. Because part of this focus is about accountability and holding people to account for their actions.

REBECCA LEVINGSTON: So, given this is a national plan, will all states and territories have the same approach? Be given the same funding allocation? How does that work? 

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Well, we will be working with the states, they've been a very big part of formulating this plan. We've worked really closely with them. I know they are all committed to this same outcome. And of course, they each will be looking at different options, funding options for those states as well. We're going to work really closely with them. It's about everyone working together for the same outcome here.

REBECCA LEVINGSTON: Really appreciate your time this morning. And as I said, there's not a person in Australia who wouldn't want this vision to be realised. We just hope it happens. Thanks so much.

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Absolutely. Look, thank you so much, Rebecca. And of course, can I say reach out to anyone who may be needing support and experiencing domestic violence, please call 1800RESPECT - that's 1800 737732. Of course, if the matter is urgent or it's an emergency call 000. 

REBECCA LEVINGSTON: Justine Elliot, Assistant Minister for Social Services and the Prevention of Family Violence.