Politics with Michelle Grattan

Zali Steggall on Monday’s march and Scott Morrison’s response

March 18, 2021

On Monday, women across the nation marched, demanding justice, safety and equality. But the government's response was lacklustre, with Scott Morrisona and the Minister for Women Marise Payne refusing to go outside to the crowd. 

Morrison later chose his words badly when he said: "Not far from here, such marches, even now are being met with bullets, but not here in this country".

Independent MP Zali Steggall described Morrison's comments as "incredibly sad" and "just stunning".

A former lawyer and olympian, Steggall is currently championing two private member's bills - a proposal for a national climate change framework, and an amendment to the sex discrimination act which would allow judges, MPs, and statutory appointees to be prosecuted for sexual harassment.
 
Steggall is disappointed in the government's response to the strong push for women's rights. "I've been quite baffled to understand the Prime Minister's response to this situation and the [rape] allegations."

And she doesn't believe Payne has been much better. "I've been absolutely, really disappointed with the minister for women's response."

She is somewhat more encouraged by the government's changing attitude towards climate change, noting Morrison's language has changed "dramatically" in the last 12 months. But simply saying he wants to get to net zero "as soon as possible" is not good enough, she says.

"That's not the certainty that business and the private sector are looking for. They are looking for it to be legislated, and with a clear pathway."

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