This week, Christian Porter has been temporarily promoted to fill the role of acting leader of the House of Representatives.
Porter’s elevation comes as Peter Dutton undergoes two weeks of home isolation after his sons were caught up in a school outbreak in Queensland.
Porter, who has not been subjected to an independent inquiry to assess his fitness to hold ministerial office after he was accused of raping a woman in 1988 – allegations he strenuously denies – has now been handed responsibility for leading the federal government’s agenda as parliament sits for a fortnight.
Christian Porter is Acting Leader of the House. I have no words to describe how I feel about this.— Jane Caro (@JaneCaro) August 2, 2021
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has overseen the temporary promotion of Porter to one of the most powerful positions of authority in this country. A decision that Australian of the Year Grace Tame sees as in no way, shape, or form, accidental on the Prime Minister’s part.
Tame has aired her scathing disgust at the Morrison’s decision to elevate Porter in an opinion piece published by The Sydney Morning Herald today.
“It is a transparently deliberate, definitive statement that reeks of abuse of power and a blatant disregard of the people,” Tame writes.
She points out just how damning it is that the government has refused to allow for an independent inquiry into Christian Porter’s fitness to hold office, given the absolute seriousness of allegations against him.
“I’m not party-political, but I call out injustice where I see it, and in this instance, it is damn-near blinding,” Tame writes.
For survivors of sexual violence, and for all Australians, these decisions from our national leadership are the highest form of insult.
For all the Australians who marched across the country this year at the #MarchForJustice amid a reckoning on the treatment of women in parliament, it is yet another example of a Prime Minister and a government that refuses to listen. It shows just how deeply Morrison has misjudged the anger in the community, as well as his blatantly obvious contempt for anyone who tries to uphold minimum standards of decency.
To the women of Australia, If you’re wondering how seriously the Prime Minister takes the concerns of women in this country, please consider this latest exhibit. Christian Porter appointed Leader of the House in Dutton’s covid-related absence. #EnoughIsEnough https://t.co/sjhDcdYVH6— Georgie Dent (@georgiedent) August 2, 2021
This decency in our national leadership has been missing in action ever since former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins came forward early this year with the allegation she had been raped by a colleague inside parliament house in 2019.
In the wake of this, Morrison seemingly attempted to come to the table. In March, he delivered a speech where he admitted there was work to be done to improve the treatment of women and ensure women’s safety. He said, “we must get this house in order” and that he was trying hard to listen to women.
“It is our problem here, it is our responsibility here, and I’m committed to dealing with that,” he said.
But Morrison did not go so far as to acknowledge his own role in permitting a culture that silences survivors of sexual abuse and mistreats women in his own party.
And therein lies the problem. Morrison continues to deflect responsibility, and it speaks to where his morals (and that of the government he leads) lie. Words mean nothing while his actions, that now include temporarily promoting Christian Porter, show us what he really thinks.