‘The right way’: PM offers to meet with women’s marchers

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has issued an open invitation for a delegation from the Women’s March 4 Justice to meet with him in Canberra but has refused to address Monday’s planned rally in person.

The marches, which are taking place around the country, follow historical rape allegations against Attorney-General Christian Porter and claims from several women that they were sexually assaulted by a former Liberal staffer. Mr Porter has vehemently denied the allegations.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued an invitation to marchers to meet with him privately after getting his second coronavirus vaccine jab in Sydney on Sunday.Credit:Edwina Pickles

Protesters’ demands include full investigations of gendered violence allegations and the full implementation of 55 recommendations contained in the Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s report last year on harassment at work.

Mr Morrison said he did not usually attend protest marches in Canberra because his days were too busy. “But I’m very happy to receive a delegation and I’ll respectfully receive that as I’m sure they will respectfully engage with me,” he said.

“I think that’s the right way to do this.”

He said he would discuss steps the government is taking to address the issue, including work on a fifth national action plan against domestic violence and a new review by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner of workplace culture and assault reporting in Parliament.

Mr Morrison’s invitation to the protesters stands in contrast to Minister for Women Marise Payne, whose office told a rally organiser Senator Payne would not receive the marchers’ petition in person.

Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek and Greens co-deputy leader Larissa Waters will receive the petition personally.

Mr Porter has vigorously denied the accusation against him, saying it “just did not happen” and Mr Morrison continues to stand by him, emphasising that NSW Police have closed their investigation and the Attorney-General is entitled to the presumption of innocence.

Organisers expect 85,000 women to attend the marches.

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