/ 24 March 2021

Morrison’s reset reaps rocky results

PM Scott Morrison yesterday reached for the ‘reset’ button after Monday night’s revelations that Liberal Party staff had shared photographs of themselves performing lewd acts in Parliament House. “I’m shocked and I’m disgusted. It is shameful … I was completely stumped, as I have been on more than one occasion over the course of this last month,” he said, referring to rape allegations that have rocked his government. But Morrison’s press conference didn’t turn out to be the new-leaf-turner he might have hoped for…

Well, the PM also used the occasion to take aim at the media… Asked by Sky News political editor Andrew Clennell if he’d “lost control”, he responded “let’s not all of us who sit in glass houses here start getting into that.” According to News Corp’s executive chairman Michael Miller, Morrison described a harassment complaint within the company that’s “simply untrue”A prime ministerial apology was forthcoming late last night, but not before Labor accused Morrison of “weaponising” sexual harassment. Before the verbal jab, the PM was emotional as he addressed the criticism he’s received for his ‘father of daughters’ response to the disturbing allegations. “Criticise me, if you like, for speaking about my daughters, but they are the centre of my life. My wife is the centre of my life. My mother, my widowed mother, is the centre of my life. They motivate me every day on this issue,” he said.

One thing that’s on the table is the introduction of quotas for female Liberal candidates in winnable seats. If that’s pursued, it will be quite a turnaround for Morrison and the party after years of resistance. But for the women of Australia, Morrison’s aim yesterday was to let them know that “I have heard them”, he said. Over the last month, he says he’s heard stories of women being “marginalised, women being intimidated, women being belittled, women being diminished, and women being objectified. That is not OK.” And he says he will have more to say about taking “further action” on a range of issues in the next month.

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