JENNY MCALLISTER - TRANSCRIPT - RADIO INTERVIEW - 2CC BREAKFAST WITH STEPHEN CENATIEMPO - WEDNESDAY, 24 NOVEMBER 2021
10.45am | November 24, 2021
SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER
SHADOW CABINET SECRETARY
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER TO THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNITIES AND THE PREVENTION OF FAMILY VIOLENCE
LABOR SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
RADIO INTERVIEW, 2CC BREAKFAST WITH STEPHEN CENATIEMPO
WEDNESDAY, 24 NOVEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: Women’s safety; Labor’s announcement for a Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Commissioner; Labor’s announcement for 500 new community sector workers.
STEPHEN CENATIEMPO, HOST: One woman a week is murdered by a current or former partner. Domestic violence is the leading cause of preventable death in women aged 15 to 44. And it's, I mean, it's just extraordinary when you think of those numbers. Labor says it will appoint a Family Domestic and Sexual Violence Commissioner if it's wins government at the next election, and fund 500 new community sector workers if they win government. Senator Jenny McAllister is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Communities and the Prevention of Family Violence and joins us now. Senator, good morning.
SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNITIES AND THE PREVENTION OF FAMILY VIOLENCE: Good morning, Stephen.
CENATIEMPO: What will this Commissioner do? I mean, it's a very complex problem and it's easy to talk a big game, but functionally, what will the Commissioner do?
MCALLISTER: We need leadership at the national level to bring all of the States and Territories together to tackle this really serious problem. Unfortunately, over the last few years, it's been really obvious that there is no single person within the Commonwealth Government who's really tracking how we're going against the national plan. I've found it almost impossible to get up to date information about whether or notinitiatives are in fact being implemented. A commissioner would hold the government to account, keep track of how the plan is going, and work with the states and territories to make sure that we've got the data sets we need to invest our money and our time and resources in the right places to make a difference.
CENATIEMPO: Do we have to be careful not to reinvent the wheel here because I know in New South Wales ran a pilot programme, I'm gonna say four or five years ago, but it might maybe more recent than that, or might be slightly longer. But it was about creating a one stop shop, so to speak for women who had been victims of domestic violence, because the biggest drama was there were so many different things that they had to address and so many things that they had to try and do whilst they are in a vulnerable state. Whereas if they had just one person or one liaison officer, they could go to, that encompassed police and various emergency housing authorities and the like. Are they the kind of programmes or are they the kind of things that this Commissioner will try to implement nationally?
MCALLISTER: There is a real problem with making women take responsibility for all of the decisions that need to occur when you're in the difficult and traumatic process of escaping violence. One of the things about Labour's announcement today is that we'd be looking to provide more resources for caseworkers to stand beside a woman and work with her through that journey. You're right, that too often, we see pilots commenced and then not followed through. What's really required, sustained, focused leadership, to look at what works and implemented. Quite frankly, when I talk to frontline workers in the sector, they're really frustrated about the endless focus on pilots. They say they know what works, what's required. And mostly it's about having the resources to really support women at one of the most dangerous and difficult times in their lives.
CENATIEMPO: I guess the real question is then is 500 enough?
MCALLISTER: We know that we are going to need to make an investment over time, build the capacity of the sector to respond to domestic and family violence. Part of this announcement is to provide some training capability, because in fact, we don't have enough skilled workers who are ready to fill jobs. And so Labor's announcement would allow people who want to get involved in community services to have a paid role while they undertake study. Half of these positions would be placed into rural and regional communities. Because we just hear constantly that these are some of the communities that are receiving the lowest level of services, and women who are exposed to some really shocking levels of violence.
CENATIEMPO: Absolutely no two ways about that. But I guess the real issue here is this is great, but this is picking up the pieces after the problems already occurred. Do we need to focus more on prevention?
MCALLISTER: That's right, Stephen. The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children is currently being remade. And that's a cooperative effort between the Commonwealth and the States and the Territories. My hope is that when that plan is released, it will have a focus on prevention, and on early intervention, to work with families at risk, and to focus on crisis and also some support and resources for the brave women who take the step to leave violence and are trying to rebuild their lives. But unfortunately, to be honest, the last eight years, I've seen little evidence of energy or enthusiasm for this policy area from the government. I've got to be honest with you, it's not something that's been a focus for them. And it's why our leader Anthony Albanese has been saying so clearly, 'This will be a focus for government that I lead'. We will have national leadership, and we are determined to actually produce a better outcome for these women.
CENATIEMPO: Senator Jenny McAllister, I really appreciate your time this morning.
MCALLISTER: Thanks so much.