Women’s March 4 Justice live: Brittany Higgins addresses Parliament House protest in Canberra as crowds mass in Sydney and Melbourne
So just going back for a second, before question time prime minister Scott Morrison seems to have a very ***interesting*** take on today’s protest, which, to paraphrase was “you should be grateful that you aren’t in Myanmar and police don’t shoot people here.” Unsurprisingly it’s not going down well online.
Here is the speech:
Today here and in many cities across our country, women and men are gathering together in rallies both large and small to call for change and to act against violence directed towards women.
It is good and right, Mr Speaker, that so many are able to gather here in this way, whether in our capital or elsewhere, and to do so peacefully to express their concerns and their very genuine and real frustrations.
This is a vibrant liberal democracy, Mr Speaker, not far from here, such marches, even now, are being met with bullets, but not here in this country, Mr Speaker.
Victoria police have praised the March 4 Justice protesters in Melbourne for their peaceful demonstrations and say all “were compliant with the chief health officer restrictions and no breaches or incidents were detected”.
But police said four people not associated with the protest have been arrested after gluing themselves to the road on the major CBD intersection of Flinders and Swanston streets:
All four were taken into custody for obstructing traffic. Those arrested were not part of the March 4 Justice rally.
It’s unclear if this was a break-off protest group or a totally separate protest about a different cause.
It looks like a small protest has restarted in Melbourne, with a fairly large police presence surrounding the protesters.
The prime minister has been asked in parliament why he did not come outside to meet with protesters today.
He did extend an invitation to the organisers to meet with him in his office, but they declined, stating that these conversations could not happen behind closed doors.
I set out that I was very happy to meet with a delegation of those who were attending here in Canberra today and they would have represented the views more broadly of those who are attending marches around the country today.
Very happy to have met them in my office. That offer to meet them was provided in good faith but I respect their right to decline that invitation and I’ve set out as best as I can in this place the issues that I would have referred to and advised those who came but principally I would have welcomed the opportunity to have listened to the issues they would have liked to have raised directly.
Here are some more women in Canberra telling us why they came to the protest today:
Albanese has again questioned Scott Morrison’s assertion that he was not aware of the Brittany Higgins allegations before she went public a month ago.
All of us need to do better. All political parties, all businesses, all workplaces, our entire society. Because sexual assault and these issues are about the power imbalance in society. That’s what it’s about. And that’s why women are demanding change. And they’re entitled to get it.
We had outside of this chamber a magnificent speech by Brittany Higgins. I say to the prime minister – listen to it. Listen to what Brittany Higgins had to say. But because he wasn’t there, I’ll help him out.
She said this: “I watched as the prime minister of Australia publicly apologised to me through the media while privately his team actively undermined and discredited my loved ones …”
A reported sexual assault happened just metres from the prime minister’s office. We know that multiple ministers were informed. We know for example over issues like the special minister of state would have been informed at the time that something had happened in that office.
We know that one member of the PM’s staff knew two years ago. A second member of his staff said it would be raised with his chief of staff two years ago. A third member of his staff knew the alleged perpetrator was dismissed two years ago. A fourth member of his staff checked in with Ms Higgins after Four Corners last year. We know that a former prime minister and former deputy leader of the Liberal party have said very clearly it’s not credible, this information wouldn’t have flown up the chain.
The leader of the opposition, Anthony Albanese,is speaking in parliament, taking the prime minister to task over his refusal to launch an independent inquiry into the allegation of rape levelled against the attorney general, Christian Porter.
We had today women gather around Australia with a few very clear and unambiguous messages, “hear us roar”.
The prime minister needs to listen. To listen to what women are saying about what is happening in this building, and outside. They said enough is enough. And what I saw outside was passionate women who are angry, they are angry about what has happened to them, they are angry about what has happened to their mothers, their grandmothers, their sisters, their daughters and their granddaughters. And they’re crying out that this is a moment that requires leadership. And it requires leadership from this prime minister, and we are not getting it, prime minister.
We need an independent inquiry into the allegations that have been made against the attorney General. We know from the former solicitor general Justin Gleeson [that] that would be an entirely appropriate thing to do. And, frankly, for a government that had an inquiry into a kitchen renovation of a former prime minister long before she was in parliament, I find it quite frankly incredible some of the arguments that have been used by this government to reject that proposition.
Porter has vehemently denied the allegations levelled against him.
The Queensland premier has appeared at the March 4 Justice protest in Brisbane.
The march is still well under way in Brisbane.
And that’s the crux of it, isn’t it:
I missed this before but independent MP Helen Haines was also part of the crowd in Canberra.
It seems like the main thrust of the protests are coming to an end. But here are some great protest signs before people go.
So far prime minister Scott Morrison, minister for women Marise Payne, deputy prime minister Michael McCormack and treasurer Josh Frydenberg have not tweeted anything about the protest and none have appeared.
I don’t think even this gives a sense of the massive crowd at the Sydney protest!
Here is an aerial view of outside the Town Hall.
Sydney’s lord mayor, Clover Moore, has joined the crowds in Sydney:
Here is a clip from Brittany Higgins, because honestly, it deserves to be heard:
Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.