Meeting to establish priorities for addressing violence against women

By Anna Macdonald

July 12, 2022

Amanda Rishworth
Minister for social services Amanda Rishworth. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

The national plan to end violence against women and children will be discussed next week as a matter of priority at the first face-to-face meeting of federal, state and territory ministers responsible for women and women’s safety. 

The meeting will be hosted by minister for women Katy Gallagher and minister for social services Amanda Rishworth on July 22, in Adelaide.

Rishworth said one of the meeting’s key objectives will be working out the priorities of the new Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commission.

“Women’s safety is a high-order priority for me and the government has committed to providing the focus and national leadership required to deliver change,” Rishworth said. 

The commission is currently searching for its commissioner, after the government announced that Coalition-appointed Catherine Fitzpatrick would no longer be taking up the role on June 30. 

Fitzpatrick was due to commence the role on July 1, and remains a member of the National Plan Advisory Group.

At the time, Rishworth emphasised the decision was not a reflection on Fitzpatrick.

“This decision is not about Ms Fitzpatrick but about the importance of undertaking an open, competitive process, a process the Government believes is critical to the success of the inaugural Commissioner,” the minister said. 

“Given the importance of the commission, and the role the commissioner will play in holding governments to account for delivery on the national plan, we need to make sure the commissioner is selected through a transparent process.”

About the upcoming meeting, the minister for social services said she had already met with First Nations communities to develop a dedicated plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children.

Gallagher added that collaboration between the different levels of government was imperative to both accelerating gender equality and ending violence against women and children.

“The government is taking action to achieve gender equality, including through the development of a national strategy to achieve gender equality. Our vision is for Australia to be a world leader in gender equality, and I look forward to working with states and territories on this ambition,” Gallagher commented. 

The previous Morrison government hosted a National Summit on Women’s Safety in September last year, which was subsequently moved online due to COVID concerns, to inform that government’s national plan.

At the time, then-prime minister Scott Morrison also emphasised the importance of intergovernmental collaboration. 

“It’s a big goal that we share, and it is a shared goal, to end violence against women and their children. Not a single person has all the answers, and neither does any single government,” Morrison said in 2021.


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