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Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Page: 6108

Ms RISHWORTH (3:30 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Housing and Minister for the Status of Women. What new measures is the government implementing to prevent violence against women and to assist young people in forming respectful relationships?

Ms PLIBERSEK (Minister for Housing and Minister for the Status of Women) —I am so pleased to have the question from the member for Kingston, who brings to this chamber her experience as a psychologist and who, as the chair of the caucus status of women committee, has played a terrifically constructive role in working on issues, including the sexualisation of children and particularly young girls in advertising culture. She has, as all members in this House have, an interest in making sure that young Australians are getting positive messages about their future relationships. We know that kids in their teens, as they go into their 20s, are very, very interested in what their relationships are going to look like in the future.

We launched on Sunday a campaign called ‘The Line’ with four terrific young performers—Lisa Mitchell, Maya Jupiter and Pez and Tenielle Muslin—who signed a pledge and donated their music to the government campaign. I am showing the images to members. This campaign will be predominantly online, but there is also associated magazine and radio advertising. It asks young people to examine some of the issues about relationships: how do you have a respectful relationship; how do you have self-respect and respect for other people; how do you communicate openly and honestly; and what does it mean to be in an equal relationship? It is terrific to have the support of these young performers, because we know that young people love their parents and listen to their teachers, but they are very, very influenced by their peer groups and they are very, very influenced by their heroes—their musical heroes, their sporting heroes. Having these people sign the pledge and be publicly supportive of this campaign is terrifically important.

Young people will be able to go onto this website and engage in online conversations. I think there are almost 4½ thousand fans already of the site. Members and senators, of course, are able to link their website pages or Facebook pages with the site so they can direct their constituents to have a look at them. Parents and teachers are able to access the site and use it for information when talking to young people about respectful relationships. This work builds on the respectful relationships programs that we have been rolling out in schools, sporting groups and community settings right around Australia.

It also coordinates very well and very closely with the work we are doing in homelessness, because we know that domestic violence is a huge issue in the area of homelessness and is a huge cause of homelessness. Today, we have had services from around Australia upstairs in the Mural Hall talking to members on both sides of the House who came to have a look at the work that is being rolled out right around Australia. We were particularly fortunate not just to have the Prime Minister and representatives of the parliament there but to have Renee, Jess, Emma Cathy and Alan—five people who have experienced homelessness firsthand—talking about their experiences and the way in which new services and new housing have helped them in their lives.

Mr Rudd —Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.