If you held any doubt that the Australian government had a serious “women issue”, we bring you this absolute car crash of an interaction from Scott Morrison which perfectly encapsulates it.
Accompanied by Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston during a press conference this afternoon, the Prime Minister might as well have been joined by a cardboard cut-out. Not because Rushton had nothing to say, but because she was point-blank prohibited from saying it.
When a journalist asked Ruston to share her own perspective of parliament’s culture, as an actual woman in government, Morrison interjected before she was able to get so much as two words out.
One sideways look at her was indication enough for the senior Minister to shut her mouth. This was the Prime Minister’s domain.
Sanctimonious as ever, Morrison jumped on the defence; attacking the journalist posing the question for daring to use the unsavoury term “bonk ban”.
“How this ban is referred to is I think quite dismissive of the seriousness of the issue,” he chastised. “We took it very seriously”, he added.
So seriously in fact, that the Prime Minister chalked up Attorney General Christian Porter’s many alleged indiscretions to “human frailty,” and claimed that neither he nor Alan Tudge (his apparent lackey) breached ministerial standards while he was prime minister.
“”I think Australians understand human frailty, and I think they understand the people who work in this place are just as human as anyone else and subject to the same vulnerabilities and frailties as anyone,” he said.
“These things happen in Australia. They happen in people’s lives. And people greatly regret them. And they do tremendous damage to people’s families and the lives of many others.”
This response is textbook Morrison: Explaining away the toxic culture that flows freely through his government. Excusing it as human weakness, as though the most privileged men that roam among us can’t possibly keep it in their pants.
But guess what? Porter and Tudge aren’t frail. They’re predators.
Objectifying women, making women feel uncomfortable and subjecting them to ridicule, is not the conduct of everyday Australians. It’s the behaviour of a very specific subsect of over inflated, ego-driven and entitled men.
And we’re all goddamn sick of it. Even Minister Ruston (if she ever gets the chance to say it).