Scott Morrison copped an absolute grilling from Tracy Grimshaw over mounting claims of sexual assault and misconduct against the government.
Thursday night’s 30-minute sit-down with A Current Affair saw ScoMo finally sitting down with a journalist to discuss how he seemingly didn’t know the depth of issues faced by women in Parliament.
Grimshaw grilled Morrison about allegations made by former Liberal staffer, Brittany Higgins, and recent historical rape allegations made against Attorney General, Christian Porter.
Morrison also revealed that Christian Porter and the Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds, will also continue to play “an important role” in his cabinet, despite Reynolds having previously called Brittany Higgins a “lying cow.”
Higgins has become a prominent figure in Australia’s next #MeToo movement after going public with allegations she was raped by another staffer in Minister Linda Reynolds office at Parliament House in March 2019.
However, Morrison admitted that Reynold and Porter are unlikely to remain in their current roles as attorney general and defence minister.
— Tegan George (@tegangeorge) March 25, 2021
When Morrison said he’d been attempting to understand the outrage felt by women across Australia following the series of severe allegations – unaided by his empathy coach – Grimshaw simply asked: “where have you been?”
“If you are saying you have been aware of the enormity of this issue preceding Brittany Higgins coming out a month ago, if you’d been aware of it,” Grimshaw said.
Morrison’s response: “At a different level.”
“This has taken me deeper into this issue than I have appreciated before,” he said.
“You have lived with it every day, you have lived with it I’m sure your whole life.”
Grimshaw, however, wasn’t having a bar of it.
“But you’re not on an island,” she said.
“Or maybe you’re in a bubble, you must know, you’ve got a wife you love, you’ve got daughters … how did you not know the depth of it?”
Tracy Grimshaw on the phone rn pic.twitter.com/EZcZvXVshB
— Cameron Williams (@MrCamW) March 25, 2021
Grimshaw pressed further, grilling Morrison for allowing a staffer to be “abandoned” right under his nose – so he says.
Grimshaw then pressed Morrison about the public’s backlash over his defence of Christian Porter, who is now in the centre of allegations that he raped a 16-year-old girl in 1988 – allegations that Porter and Morrison have vehemently denied.
As the woman in question took her own life in 2020 shortly after the case was closed by NSW Police, there has been no chance to reopen the case and investigate more thoroughly, which advocacy organisations and the public are now calling for.
While Morrison has always said he believes Porter is innocent, Grimshaw pointed out that there are independent means of investigating the allegations if Morrison was so certain.
“Christian Porter vehemently denies the allegations against him. You have immediately believed him,” Grimshaw said.
Morrison responded: “The police have decided that there is no further investigation,” while defending his decision not to open an inquiry.
“What I have done is to respect the rule of law in this country and how people need to be treated under that rule of law. An allegation can be made against you, me, against anyone else.”
However, Grimshaw then clarified that Police actually hadn’t been able to conduct an investigation, as Porter’s accuser died before any meaningful investigation could commence.
“There really wasn’t an investigation because his accuser died, she took her life,” she told Morrison.
“There really hasn’t been an investigation. There has been no investigation, Prime Minister, you have just believed him.”
all those people earlier who reckoned Tracy Grimshaw/ACA would be doing a “softball” interview, when it was announced that Morrison would be doing this one pic.twitter.com/PbQOtFpkGk
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) March 25, 2021
Grimshaw then reflected on Morrison’s behaviour, serving the rightful assumption that our Prime Minister simply refuses to believe women’s lived experiences.
“You’re backing Christian Porter, you have believed Eric Abetz… the pattern here is that women are always liars,” she said.
“Brittany Higgins was a liar, Sue Hickey is the liar, Christian Porter’s accuser has not told the truth either.”
But Morrison remained stubborn, one of the only consistencies throughout his leadership.
— Tony G 🕯️ (@_Tony_Garcia_) March 25, 2021
“No that is not the assumption. In this country, people will make allegations and we have ways of dealing with it. I am not making that judgement about the truth of neither statement,” Morrison said in response.
Finally, Grimshaw went for the jugular and called out Morrison’s alleged support for a quote of female politicians. A contentious idea met with reasonable backlash for its inability to see past the bigger picture of systematic misogyny in the highest levels of government.
“I don’t know many self-respecting, confident women who would want a quota to be the reason why they got a promotion or a job,” she said.
“I am wondering if instead of quotas, and actively discriminating in favour of women, you would be better off starting to actively discriminate against Neanderthal man like the so-called Big Swinging Dicks Club that Julie Bishop says stood in her way.
“If you clear out the dinosaurs, maybe more women would want to be here.”