Most Australians believe the government is more interested in protecting its own interests than women

Most Australians believe the government is more interested in protecting its own interests than women

Two in three respondents to the latest Essential poll say the government is more interested in protecting its own political interests than the interests of women who have made rape and sexual assault allegations.

Meanwhile, just one in three of the 1,074 respondents to the poll say they have trust in political offices to guarantee a safe workplace for women.

These results come as Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he will not be launching an independent inquiry into the historic allegations of rape facing a current cabinet minister, and that he will not stand down the minister in question.

The poll also follows weeks of unanswered questions about the Morrison government’s handling of Brittany Higgins’ allegations she was raped in 2019, by a fellow Liberal party staffer, inside parliament house.

65 per cent of respondents to the poll – 68 per cent of women and 62 per cent of men – agreed with the statement: “The government has been more interested in protecting itself than the interests of those who have been assaulted.” The statement was supported by respondents of all political persuasions, including 76 per cent of Labor supporters, 51 per cent of Coalition supporters and 88 per cent of Greens supporters.

The poll shows wide public support for an inquiry into the allegations, with nearly 70 per cent of respondents agreeing with the statement: “It’s wrong that the Liberal party did not notify the police to launch a criminal inquiring immediately after the allegations were made.”

Six in ten of the those polled agreed with the statement that “politics has a particular problem with harassment and assault”, while noting that women can face a hard time in the workplace in all professions.

57 per cent shared the view that workplaces only become safer for women when women are equally represented in leadership positions.

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