Doorstop - Stop it at the Start phase four campaign launch

  • Joint transcript with:
  • Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, Minister for Families and Social Services, Minister for Women’s Safety, Manager of Government Business in the Senate
18 March 2022

Minister Ruston: Thank you very much for being here today. Today we are at CommBank Stadium, making the announcement of a $19 million campaign called Stop it at the Start. Stop it at the Start is the federal government’s primary prevention campaign which is supporting Australians to understand the role that they can play in ending all gender-based violence.

We’ve also announced today a package of $150 million and included in that is an additional $46 million to make sure that we have got further stages of this really important campaign. We have also invested $104 million into technology-based campaigns. What we have seen is that whilst victim survivors should be able to use technology to make them safer, often it’s the weapon of choice for perpetrators. Today, as part of our $104 million technology package we want to turn it around so that victim-survivors get the benefits and empowerment of technology. That includes a $20 million fund that states and territories can bid into to support them in using technology to prevent violence happening to the women in their states. It’s based on a very successful program being run in Tasmania which uses GPS tracking on high-risk offenders so that they know that they are constantly being watched to prevent them from perpetrating further. What we have seen with the success of this program is that these perpetrators are 80% less likely to reoffend after they have been on the program. We are absolutely delighted that we are able to provide this additional funding to support Australian women and children to make sure that eventually victims of violence can eventually live a life that is free from gender-based violence.

It’s fantastic to be here with the Minister for Women Marise Payne who might like to say something.

Minister Payne: Thank you very much Anne and it is particularly good to be here in Western Sydney at the CommBank Stadium in Parramatta for these very important announcements today. The focus that the Commonwealth Government brings to this, the presence that many key stakeholders bring here this morning is a powerful reminder to all of us that this is a challenge that the whole of the Australian community needs to meet. Governments working together across all levels. Corporate Australia led today by CommBank and their engagement here and CEO Matt Comyn are key to that as well but it’s a whole of community challenge. We know that, but we must remind ourselves of that. The Stop it at the Start campaign, immensely powerful in its three previous iterations will be delivering that very important message to Australians in the coming weeks and months. Thanks

Journalist: Minister Ruston the latest funding we are seeing here is about how technology is often used as a weapon for perpetrators. Are you able to run through some of those measures that the Government is very keen to target in this next round of funding?

Minister Ruston: Yes, sure. Today’s $104 million announcement is broken up into three separate programs, one of them is the one I just referred to in terms of GPS tracking. One of the others is the $54.6 million which we have put towards our Keeping Women Safe In Their Homes program and that uses a number of different technologies to say that where it is safe to do so we want the victim-survivor and their family to remain in their family home, in their community. It’s the perpetrator that needs to move. By using and applying technology to these things we are able to make it safer for women to stay in their own homes, so their children can stay in their community and possibly continue go to the same school. That means the victim-survivor is not further punished as the one that has to leave their home, it’s actually the perpetrator who is forced to leave their home. There are so many opportunities where technology can actually be the empowering thing for people and what we want to do is turn the tables and make sure that the perpetrator who is the one who is wearing the pointy end of technology so that the victim-survivor can use it to make themselves safer.

Journalist: The early advice to Government is that tracking for high-risk offenders is proving quite successful for the safety of women?

Minister Ruston: Yes, Tasmania are running a program at the moment and recently undertaken an evaluation which shows that not it is reducing the instances of people breaching their Apprehended Violence Orders. Not only is it reducing significantly the times that they breach them into the 70 and 80% reduction, but when they finish the program and the perpetrator no longer has the electronic monitoring device on them, we have seen an 80% reduction in reoffending. So it’s been a double sort of benefit in the sense that it’s stopping it happening at the time but it’s also creating better behaviours so that people aren’t perpetrating in the future and it’s actually making them think about the wrongs of their actions and hopefully it will be a life-long change in their behaviour.

Journalist: On to other matters, Senator Payne, two Russian Oligarchs have just come under the influence of sanctions now, just today. Why wasn’t this decision made earlier when other countries have done so?

Minister Payne: There are a number of statements that I would like to make in relation to the sanctions that have been applied overnight. We have placed sanctions on 11 additional Russian banks and Government entities and the majority of the country’s banking assets are now covered by our sanctions along with all of the entities that handle Russia’s sovereign debt. Today’s listing includes the Russian National Wealth Fund and the Russian Ministry of Finance. With our recent inclusion of the Central Bank of Russia we have now targeted all Russian Government entities that are responsible for issuing and managing Russia’s sovereign debt. Those additional banks together count for approximately 80% of all banking assets in Russia. This continues our commitment to working very closely with international partners on imposing high costs on Russia and that does include listing individuals of economic and strategic significance to Russia who have both benefited from and supported this regime.

We have in addition, there are 41 Oligarchs and immediate family members of whom we have already placed targeted financial sanctions and travel bans and two further individuals with links to business interests in Australia, Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Vekselberg. In doing so we continue that close cooperation with key international partners.

These are important steps and I take advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on the sanctions process. It has been a very intense process, as you can imagine in recent weeks, not just here in Australia for both the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and my own office but for our similar partner departments and agencies across the world. The due diligence that is required to be done in relation to the sanctions process is extensive, it involves significant detail and legal issues and once that advice was received from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, I was able to sanction both of those individuals overnight.

Journalist: Why the delay when other countries have moved to sanction those individuals already?

Minister Payne: There is no delay. One of the individuals was sanctioned I think on the 15th of March and I have sanctioned on the 17th of March, so I think we have been working closely with partners and I have certainly taken advice from my own agency. I think that Australians would expect that their Government would want the due diligence done on the sanctions process no matter where they applied, to make sure that we are addressing all of those issues.

Journalist: And in that advice was there any concern raised in say the financial hit locally would be a little bit more in perhaps…

Minister Payne: I’m not going to speak about the legal advice that I have received from my department.

Journalist: In relation to Kimberley Kitching, we have had an apology from Penny Wong today in relation to one comment she has made. It that the end of this or does there need to be some sort of formal investigation?

Minister Payne: I haven’t seen that comment. All I want to say is that Kimberley Kitching was my colleague and my friend and I deeply miss her and am deeply sorry and convey my sympathies to her family and her friends and her colleagues.

Journalist: Does the Senate have the ability or should it formally investigate the circumstances?

Minister Payne: I’m not going to make any further comment.

Journalist: In relation to housing, do you think that first homeowners should be able to use their super for security for home loans?

Minister Ruston: I think the track record of this Government is making access to home ownership something that is in reach for many more Australians is something that we can be proud of. In the last Budget, particularly the area that is very close to my portfolio and that is single parents. We made the Family Home Guarantee a priority so that single families who were struggling to be able to get the deposit for their home loan were guaranteed by Government. With as little as 2% of the deposit they were able to get into home ownership. And it’s been a really well received program and it sits alongside the Home Guarantee Scheme that the Government is focussed on. Our Government is very focused on making sure that we are putting in the supports so that people would be able to get into home ownership.

Journalist: How soon would this roll out?

Minister Ruston: The announcements today, they will be part of the Budget and we will be getting on with implementing these programs straight away but today the main focus of the announcement was the Stop it at the Start campaign which will start now and the ads are already ready now to roll out across Australian media.

Journalist: That’s the GPS tracking?

Minister Ruston: GPS tracking is already underway in Tasmania and has already been a successful trial and so states and territories will be able to bid into the fund in the next few weeks in order for them to be able to get access funding to support them to in the trials that they might like to run.

Journalist: How much is this all going to cost?

Minister Ruston: The GPS tracking is a $20 million fund and it’s part of our $150 million prevention and early intervention package that we have announced today and is on top of the $189 million package that we announced two weeks ago which are the first two rounds of investments that we are making in the first action plan to support the next National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children.

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