Fiona Richardson is known for playing hardball — both as a Labor MP in the Victorian Parliament and as a senior member of the right of the party.
There is no doubt the minister is quirky. She’s vegan and almost always barefoot in her office. When she’s in deep concentration she throws mini basketballs into hoops strategically positioned by her staff. But she’s not one to show vulnerabilities.
Crying can be political suicide and, in Ms Richardson’s words, no-one has ever seen that side of her. That is, until now.
When Labor won the Victorian election in November 2014 it promised to crack down on family violence.
“This really is the biggest law and order challenge that we face today,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says.
“Two women a week are killed by their current or former partner; the leading cause of death and disability among women under the age of 45.”
Mr Andrews rang Ms Richardson to offer her the position of Australia’s first Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence. He then set up a royal commission into the issue.
The commission is due to hand down its findings on Tuesday, with Ms Richardson responsible for implementing change.
But when first offered the job, Ms Richardson was taken by surprise.
“I wondered whether he knew, whether he had some inkling or someone had said something to him,” she tells Australian Story.