Content Warning: this article contains references to sexual harassment and assault
This article has been updated to reflected new information.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison became heated responding to a question by Sky News’s politics editor Andrew Clennell after Network 10 revealed images and footage of inappropriate sexual behaviour by liberal staffers.
Monday evening’s 10 News First episode saw a Canberra insider known only as ‘Tom’ reveal that male staffers took inappropriate pictures of themselves at work and that one man videoed himself masturbating on a female Liberal MP’s desk. He referred to Parliament as a “toxic, privileged boys’ club.”
These revelations come after former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins accused a fellow staffer of raping her in Defense Minister Linda Reynold’s office, and Attorney-General Christian Porter was accused of an alleged rape in 1988, an allegation he has vehemently denied.
Last week, thousands of women gathered throughout the nation to protest the sexual harassment and misogyny experienced by women in Australia, including in the country’s most powerful institutions. Brittany Higgins spoke at the march in Canberra.
In a question to the Prime Minister during Tuesday’s press conference, Sky’s Andrew Clennell said, “if you were the boss at a business, and there’d been an alleged rape on your watch, this incident we heard about last night on your watch, your job would probably be in a bit of jeopardy wouldn’t it? Doesn’t it look like you’ve lost control of your ministerial staff here?”
Morrison replied heatedly, “I’ll let you editorialise as you like Andrew, but if anyone in this room wants to offer up the standards in their own workplaces by comparison, I’d ask you to do so.”
Morrison and @aclennell clash at presser:
— Media Watch (@ABCmediawatch) March 22, 2021
Clennell then said, “they’re better than these I’d suggest, Prime Minister”, to which Morrison responded:
“Well, let me take you up on that. Let me take you up on that. Right now, you’d be aware, in your own organisation, that there is a person who has had a complaint made against them for harassment of a woman in a women’s toilet, and that matter is being pursued by your own HR department.”
“So let us not all of us who sit in glass houses here get into that.”
Morrison also went on to say that the incidences reported on by 10 did not occur while he was Prime Minister.
The allegation regarding Sky News had not been made public, and it is unclear whether the complainant wanted it to be made public.
A Sky News spokesperson said, “the Prime Minister’s communications director, Andrew Carswell, has confirmed to Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell the matter Mr Morrison raised during his news conference today does not pertain to Sky News.”
Featured Image: Nine News
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