8 March 2018
Transcript - #2018012, 2018

Interview with Tom Elliott, 3AW

Subjects: The Government’s Women in Science Ambassador; Domestic and family violence

TOM ELLIOTT:

We spoke to ACTU boss Sally McManus earlier today about a protest they staged in front of Kelly O'Dwyer's office. Three billboards were driven up, on the backs of trucks. The first one said 'Women are being killed', the second one said 'Paid domestic leave can save lives', and the third one said 'Why no action Kelly O'Dwyer'. Well as luck would have it our next guest is the Federal Minister for Women, Kelly O'Dwyer herself, good afternoon.

KELLY O'DWYER:

Good afternoon Tom.

TOM ELLIOTT:

Did you see these billboards this morning?

KELLY O'DWYER:

No, I was actually with the Prime Minister this morning making an announcement about our women in science ambassador, along with Professor Michelle Simmons, who is of course our world renowned quantum physicist who is putting together a world first quantum computer, and so no, I didn't see them, but obviously I know all about them, and can I say just a couple of things.

TOM ELLIOTT:

Sure.

KELLY O'DWYER:

The first is, I think every Australian understands, as do we, that there is no place in this country for domestic or family violence, and we do have a rate that is too high, where we see violence against women and children in Australia. But the very first issue that the Turnbull Government set about tackling was domestic violence. The Prime Minister announced a $100 million women's safety package as his very first announcement as Prime Minister. Now, since then we have spent over $322 million on women's safety with over 70 specific initiatives in order to keep women safe, to support their families, if they have been the subject of violence. Just one example is the health justice partnerships that train hospital staff to recognise signs of domestic violence if someone was to come into the public hospital and to ensure that they get free legal advice at the hospital by a duty lawyer. These are the very practical measures that we are putting into place to ensure women can be safer. Now Sally McManus, I know, has a very strong political agenda here in wanting to score political hits on her political opponents. They are the extension of course of the Labor Party, or at least the Labor Party is the political arm of the union movement, so it's no surprise to me that unfortunately they would stoop to this. But let's not forget that the independent umpire that looks at these industrial issues, the Fair Work Commission, was set up by the former Labor Government and they are the ones that determine whether or not that the ACTU's claim of wanting to have 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave, whether or not that should or shouldn't be included in modern awards, and at the moment they've said no.

TOM ELLIOTT:

Okay, what are your personal views on it just quickly. Do you think the paid domestic violence leave which the ACTU says it wants, do you think that would make a difference?

KELLY O'DWYER:

Well look I obviously haven't heard the case that they have put, but 5 days, 10 days, 15 days, I think that people need to exercise a degree of common sense. People do have access to personal and carers leave at the moment, people do have the ability to take unpaid leave and I know that the Fair Work Commission is actually looking at this question. I think we need to take a very sensible approach, and I've not yet heard evidence of employers refusing to give their employees leave where they have asked for it.

TOM ELLIOTT:

Thank you, Kelly. Kelly O'Dwyer, Federal Minister for Women.