Rape apologists and PM’s arse-covering contribute to sexist and misogynistic culture in politics

“Peter Dutton has finally confirmed when he was told about Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations and outed himself as a rape apologist in the process.  Mr Dutton is now the fifth government member who knew about the allegation, but apparently didn’t bother to pick up the phone to the PM”, said Senator Larissa Waters, Greens Leader in the Senate and spokesperson on women.

“The AFP this morning has called out a culture of silence that makes it harder to hold perpetrators to account.  Ministers need to report criminal allegations, or provide genuine support for their staff to do so.

“At the International Women’s Day event today, the PM spoke a lot about ‘protecting women’ and the rule of law.  Yet he failed to  acknowledge that it is men who are harming women, and continues to oversee a culture in which alleged crimes are covered up.

“The terms of the Gaetjens review released today make it clear that it is yet another narrow exercise in arse-covering.  The government yesterday voted against making the terms public, and it’s no wonder.

“Rather than a comprehensive inquiry into government mishandling of a rape allegation, Mr Gaetjens will investigate only what the PM’s staff knew – not what the PM knew, not what other Ministers knew, and not whether the appalling allegations that his staff have been backgrounding journalists against Brittany Higgins are true.

“In other concerning news today, it appears that the alleged rapist visited Parliament House for a private event after he was dismissed in 2019. I will be asking the President of the Senate to confirm who invited him to that event, who signed him in, and which MPs and/or Ministers were in attendance at the event.

“If the PM was serious about protecting and respecting women, he would ask himself how a man fired following rape allegations could be allowed back into the building, and why so many people in his government did so little in response to an alleged rape of a staff member just metres from his office.”

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