Scott Morrison – March 4 Justice: Scott Morrison ‘completely missed the moment’ says Anthony Albanese
Anthony Albanese says Scott Morrison ‘completely missed the moment’ by refusing to meet March 4 Justice protesters in public.
Scott Morrison “completely missed the moment” by declining to meet with March 4 Justice protesters on the front lawn of parliament, Anthony Albanese says.
Thousands of people descended on Parliament House on Monday as part of nationwide marches over men’s violence towards women.
The Prime Minister opted against speaking with protesters in public but offered to meet a delegation in his parliamentary office.
That offer was declined, with organisers arguing issues of domestic and sexual violence were too often discussed in private.
RELATED: Brittany Higgins appears at a women’s justice march in Canberra
Mr Albanese said Mr Morrison “completely missed the moment” by refusing to attend the “extraordinary rally”.
“They invited every member of parliament to go out and to listen, and I think it would have been good if the Prime Minister had been prepared to do that,” he told 6PR Radio.
“They want the doors to be open and for people to be listened to.”
Minister for Women Marise Payne also came under fire for refusing to meet protesters in public but said an offer to meet them privately still stood.
“It affects the whole building but for parliamentarians who are the leaders in this place,” she told reporters.
“Our role now is to own the problems, to own failings and, most importantly, to own the solutions. That is our focus.”
Mr Morrison came under fire for telling parliament similar marches are “met with bullets” elsewhere.
“When he did make a contribution in the Parliament, (he) had a reference about how good it was that people could have a demonstration in Australia without being shot,” he said.
“It was a rather bizarre contribution, to say the least.”
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg defended the comments, saying Mr Morrison was “championing Australia’s democracy” and “sharing the frustrustrations” of the protesters.
He described findings that showed one in four women over the age of 15 would experience intimate partner violence as “horrifying” but said the government had committed more than $1b to improve domestic violence services.
“We are listening, we are acting and yesterday, (it) was a very powerful moment outside parliament,” he told Sunrise.
“The numbers are a lot higher among Indigenous communities, so this is a national scourge and it is a national challenge. We must do better and we will do better.”
Brittany Higgins was one of thousands to attend the rally, telling the crowd she had been treated as a “political problem”.
The former Liberal staffer alleged she was sexually assaulted in the parliamentary office of Linda Reynolds and felt forced to choose between going to the police and keeping her job.
It comes after Labor staffers made anonymous allegations on a private Facebook group outlining a toxic workplace culture.
Labor women spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said Australia needed a cultural change, with the legal system “letting women down”.
She said every political party needed to “do better”, promising Labor would support sexual assault victims in coming forward via strengthened internal processes.
“We will be with you,” she told ABC Radio.
“You can go the police if it’s a matter of assault, and we will be with you, we will support you.”