Assistant Minister Elliot on 2CC Breakfast


STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Yesterday, all Australian Governments came together and agreed to work to deliver a shared vision to end gender-based violence within a generation - a noble plan or a noble aim. Whether or not it's possible, I guess, is the big question. 

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

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Good morning. Great to be with you. 

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Is this possible? 

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Well look, Stephen, we have to make it possible. We know the rates of domestic violence across the country are just completely unacceptable. When we have the case in Australia where one woman dies every ten days at the hands of their former or current partner, we have to have change. And of course, this plan is very ambitious. We want to end violence against women and children in one generation, and the fact is we have to do it, all of us working together. Because the extent of domestic violence across the nation is at epidemic proportions. 

And that's why we've all come together to work hard to get this national plan. We're working with the states, we're working with experts, we're working with frontline service providers. Really importantly, we've been listening to those victim survivors and hearing their voices. 

A lot of people have put a lot of work into this plan, and the fact is we have to make it happen. We don't want our children or their children growing up in these same circumstances. Together, we have to end violence against women and children. 

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Minister, I have a problem with the terminology domestic violence or gender based violence or even violence against women or children, because it suggests that one type of violence is worse or another type of violence is more acceptable than another. Shouldn't violence be the problem?

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Well, all violence, of course, is wrong, Steve. And we know that when we talk about family violence it can apply to any members of the family. But when we talk about domestic violence, we know that in the vast majority of cases, it's women that are victims of domestic violence and that's why we use those terms. But of course, violence anywhere, any time is wrong.

But specifically, when we look at those figures about domestic violence, when it comes to violence against women and children, those numbers across the country are absolutely huge.

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Yeah, I understand that, I just wonder about the language here. But getting to the nuts and bolts of it, I mean, there must be an idea of how you're going to achieve this. I mean, what sort of things are going to be engaged here to try and end this type of violence in a generation?

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Well look, there's four main parts or four pillars to the plan. The first one, really importantly, is about prevention, and that's about changing people's attitudes, and particularly young people. Having a lot of really good education programs about changing their understanding, about respectful relationships, and more generally throughout the community as well, and there are a lot of programs in relation to that for young people. But all of us play a part in that as well. Calling out behaviour, calling out harassment, it's important for the whole community. 

The next part, the next pillar is early intervention. We know it's really important to provide that assistance when we know there are some incidents happening. So we want to make sure that that's happening at a greater rate - getting that early intervention. 

Then the response as well. Making sure that we can provide the support that victims need and when they need it. 

And another part to it as well is the recovery and healing. We need to make sure that that's in place to provide all the necessary supports that people do require. 

So right across those four pillars, there's a whole range of interventions that we can have as well. And we know, we particularly know what's needed is more workers, more community workers to provide support and the Albanese Government is doing that. In our Budget it's 500 more community workers. We know there needs to be more crisis and emergency housing for those victims of domestic violence, we're doing that as well. We know we need to provide more support and we're also doing that in conjunction with all the states. Everybody is working together for this one aim because we have to be successful.

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: That's my biggest scepticism, is getting the states and territories to actually pull their weight here. Well, they tend to always point at the Federal Government and say, well, you guys do it all, we'll just pretend that we're along for the ride. So a noble aim. Let's hope that it works. 

Minister, I really appreciate your time this morning. 

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Thanks so much.

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO: Justine Elliot is the Assistant Minister for Social Services and Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence.