If Scott Morrison could repeat the day of the Women’s March 4 Justice last year, he wouldn’t change a thing. That’s what he told Tracy Grimshaw in an interview on Nine’s A Current Affair on Tuesday night.
“I did the right thing on that day,” he said. “I offered a meeting in my office which I do with many groups.”
Morrison chose to gloss over the fact that he refused to front protestors on the forecourt of parliament house, instead telling other politicians inside parliament the women in attendance were lucky to have not been met by bullets.
Grimshaw asked if there’s “been a hangover among women voters” in terms of their attitude towards him since that time.
Morrison said that if there was a sentiment like that directed towards him by women, they should look instead to the policies the Morrison government has produced to improve women’s lives.
He then claimed credit for narrowing the gender pay gap, a figure that currently sits at 13.8 per cent (up from 13.4 per cent in November 2020). No need to mention that experts have said policies like the Workplace Gender Equality Act, introduced in the final years of the last Labor government are largely responsible for any decline in the pay gap we’ve seen in recent years. He also mentioned some initiatives in women’s health.
Unlike other media interviews in recent weeks however, in which the PM and his opponent, Anthony Albanese have been allowed to steam ahead without answering the questions, Grimshaw didn’t hold back. She probed Morrison on how long he had known himself to be a “bulldozer”, as he described himself last week and queried what aspects of his leadership he would change if he were to be re-elected.
Morrison replied that he could have been more “sensitive” at times, and shifted blame onto the health department for the slow vaccine rollout.
“If I’d been able to bring in the military to the vaccine rollout earlier, we did it in May, we were doing it through the Health Department first, if we did it earlier and I think that would have made a difference,” he said.
Morrison indicated he was happy with most of the major actions he had taken during his time as leader, including how he handled the cancellation of the French submarine deal. The same handling that resulted in French President Emmanuel Macron calling him a liar–multiple times– on the world stage.
“I did exactly what the national interest required, and I have no regrets from that time whatsoever,’’ Morrison told Grimshaw.
“So where are you going to not be a bulldozer, if you win this election?” Grimshaw reiterated incredulously.
“Where are you actually going to change? I mean, why have you said you’re going to change, when you’ve just basically said that everything you’ve done has been okay?”
Grimshaw also questioned Morrison’s claim that he “saved the country” during the pandemic.
“Prime Minister, you said at your launch on Sunday that you saved the country,’’ she said.
“You don’t hold a hose, you weren’t in your tinnie plucking people off rooftops, you weren’t doing 16-hour days in PPE on COVID wards, you didn’t get enough vaccines soon enough, you didn’t get enough RATs so that we could finally have a holiday interstate for Christmas, and China is set up, based in the Solomons,” she said.
“Do you think maybe you slightly over egged the part about saving the country?”
“Well, that’s quite a long list you’ve been able to pull together,” Morrison said, before mentioning that Australia had done better than most countries in the world during the pandemic.
Bulldozer or not, Morrison showed no signs of admitting to any mistakes made on his part over the past three years. With the election on Saturday, the question is now whether Australian voters will give him a chance to show his sensitive side during the next three.