Pick of the week
Australian Story Monday, 8pm, ABC It’s not often a politician cries in public, but the Victorian Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Fiona Richardson (pictured right), had good reason to shed a tear or two, even though it could be seen as a sign of weakness. It was ironic that the state’s Premier, Daniel Andrews, chose her for the portfolio in 2014. “I had no knowledge, no sense that she had been a survivor of the very thing that I was asking her to be the minister for,” he says in The Minister’s Secret, episode nine in this current season of the terrific series Australian Story, which launched in 1996. Richardson, 49, the Labor member for Northcote, was born in Dar es Salaam. This program takes her, her mother Veronica (pictured left) and two brothers, Hamish and Alistair, back there to explore what led to the violence that blighted their childhood all those years ago. “My father loved to tell stories. He was a bit of a character, oodles of charm,” Richardson says. Old videos show a normal, happy family, but when he was drunk he beat and raped his wife and punched the boys. Veronica put up with it because “I thought being beaten was normal. My mother beat me.” Until Richardson was given the new portfolio, the family had relegated their experiences to history. Now they want answers. Richardson’s empathy with other victims makes her an ideal minister for this sensitive portfolio. A touching story.