Ambassador Q&A: Brian Paynter
White Ribbon Ambassador Brian Paynter was inspired to become an Ambassador after a tragic incident to a close friend and wanted to use his influence in Parliament to be an advocate for the White Ribbon message.
What is your day job?
Member of the Victorian State Parliament
How long have you been a White Ribbon Ambassador?
I have been an ambassador since 2013.
Why did you decide to become an Ambassador?
My beautiful friend Kylie Blackwood was stabbed to death by an intruder in her own home. Shortly afterwards I read an article written by Tom Meagher the husband of murdered Jill Meagher titled the ‘Monster Myth’. Tom described how Jill’s killer looked and sounded like an ordinary man. He didn’t fit Tom’s image of a monster and his actions were a result of the environment in which he had been raised. Ken Lay echoed those thoughts in a further article where he stated that school yard banter can evolve into sexist comments then later violent action against women. We live in a male dominated culture where some men have a sense of entitlement to women and this behavior is often condoned by those around them. As a husband and father of three girls, I could no longer stand by and take no action to change this culture.
In what ways have you been involved in the White Ribbon Campaign?
As a member of parliament, I regularly have the opportunity to speak in public. I use this opportunity to raise awareness of the White Ribbon campaign on every possible occasion. In addition, I wrote to the Speaker and President of the Parliament of Victoria requesting our parliament undergo the White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation. As a result of my request we are the first parliament in Australia to undertake the accreditation which will involve over 1000 employees having access to training, educational material and resources.
Why is Gender Equality important to you as an Ambassador?
It’s just a matter of common decency and respect for fellow humans not based on gender.
What goals do you hope to accomplish as an Ambassador in the future?
My immediate aim as the Co-Chair of the Parliament of Victoria Working Group is to gain our workplace accreditation. I will continue to work in my local area with community leaders to drive awareness and change in the areas over which we have an influence. Ultimately, I want my daughters to live and work in a community where they enjoy the same freedoms and liberties as my friend’s sons. To live without fear of physical attack or intimidation. Equality is about mutual respect and this starts at a very young age. I would like respectful relationships education embedded into our primary schools.