How did you not know?’ Grimshaw grills Scott Morrison over claims he’s ‘doing everything I can’
“Where have you been? Or maybe you’re in a bubble, I don’t know.”
It was the question A Current Affair’s Tracy Grimshaw squared at Prime Minister Scott Morrison after he said he was doing everything he can to understand the outrage Australian women have voiced these past weeks.
“You must know, you’ve got a wife you love, you’ve got daughters who go to school, you’ve referenced them several times. How did you not know the depth of it?” Grimshaw asked again.
It was the first major sit-down television interview Morrison has given on the issue of violence against women, which erupted recently when former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins made allegations she had been raped by a male colleague inside then-Defence Minister Linda Reynolds’ ministerial office at Parliament House.
Facing frank and wide-ranging questions by Grimshaw, Mr Morrison said the issue of violence against women was a conversation he wanted to hear about.
“I may have not always got it the way people would like me to,” he said
“I’m doing everything I can, as best as a bloke can frankly.
“I don’t think this should be an issue that sets men against women. It’s not about men versus women or anything like that.”
He told Grimshaw “it’s been like a big wake up call”, to which she replied “It hasn’t been a wake-up call to 52 per cent of Australians”.
Grimshaw raised the story of Ms Higgins, and asked why the Prime Minister has not yet spoken to her despite the alleged rape happening about 50 metres from his own office.
Grimshaw went further, asking why she was essentially abandoned despite bringing up her claims to Minister Reynolds’ Chief of Staff.
“Why was she on her own? You don’t need processes to know how to act humanely,” Grimshaw asked.
“Why weren’t they (those who knew about the alleged incident) fired?”
“They were trying like everyone else would be trying in those circumstances,” Mr Morrison answered.
“We have to fix this and you don’t have to tear things down to build things up.”It’s easy to just say point the finger here, point the finger … you haven’t fixed the problem.”
The interview was wide-ranging in scope, with the Prime Minister grilled on his Attorney-General Christian Porter – who is facing allegations of a historical sexual assault. He strongly denies those allegations.
Mr Morrison said it was not for him to “play judge and jury” on allegations.
“One’s gender doesn’t prove the truth of any statement. What proves the truth of any statement is the evidence.”
When pressed on if Porter or Minister Linda Reynolds would be moved in the cabinet, the Prime Minister was non-committal.
“They will continue to play a very important role in my cabinet. When I make judgements on those things, I’ll announce them,” he said.
The Prime Minister also spoke of the March 4 Justice rally which gathered at Parliament House, with many other protests in capital cities around the nation.
Grimshaw asked if he should have been present at the rally, to which he replied he had instead offered to meet several of the organisers.
“I wanted to hear them, and I wanted to hear them where we could sit down and have a proper conversation and that opportunity was there,” he said.
“That offer wasn’t accepted.
“Not everybody who comes to Canberra obviously has the opportunity to meet with the prime minister.”
When asked about parliament and the number of women in positions of power, he agreed it was an issue.
“I’m wondering if instead of quotas and actively discriminating in favour of women, perhaps you’d be better off discriminating against Neanderthal men like the so-called, big swinging dicks club, that Julie Bishop said stood in her way,” Grimshaw asked.
“That was disgraceful,” he agreed.
“There are now a record number of women in my cabinet.
“At the end of the day if we’re not getting more women in this parliament then we’ve got to be doing something different to what we are doing now.”