Yesterday, tens of thousands of Australians marched across the country in 42 rallies. They marched against violence and they marched against complacency.
*CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses rape
There is no longer any doubt that enough is enough as far as the people are concerned.
It's not only that Australia's highest law officer, Attorney-General Christian Porter, is the subject of brutal rape allegations.
It is not simply that Brittany Higgins' shocking allegations of rape by a colleague happened in her place of work: Parliament House.
Or that these things concern our House of Parliament. The people's house. And the place in which the Sex Discrimination Commissioner's 'Respect@Work'' report sits idle for over 12 months.
And it's not just that despite all the research, all the inquiries and all the recommendations, there have been only platitudes where there should have been real action.
Though, of course, it is all of these things.
The real clincher is that the Morrison Government, instead of choosing to act or even to listen, continues to spit in the face of every raped and murdered woman and their families and friends.
Community anger and frustration reached a critical point because of the Morrison Government's blatant refusal to address rape allegations against Attorney-General Christian Porter and hold an inquiry, which would, at least, establish the facts. And because both Porter and Morrison did not even deign to read the victim's letter, the PM announcing Porter's denial was enough for him.
Scott Morrison, by mumbling about victims needing to be believed but doing nothing, is actively ignoring the herd of elephants in the room, now stampeding across the country.
Seemingly blind, deaf and completely unperturbed, both Morrison and Minister for Women Marise Payne refused to venture outside and listen to the predominantly female protesters — hardly an angry lynch mob by anyone's standards.
Choosing to hide in Parliament House instead, the PM had this to say:
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.
Not far from here, such marches, even now, are being met with bullets. But not here in this country.
On this same day – the day in which thousands marched, supported by many more, non-placarding Australians calling for institutional change – the Attorney-General also chose to file defamation charges against the national broadcaster for its coverage of rape allegations against him.
The message from this Coalition Government is clear. There will be no inquiry. And this is what happens when you challenge our authority. The authority we intend to further protect by ensuring we are exempt from any federal corruption inquiry — if it ever goes ahead.
This is an abridged version of an editorial originally published as part of the Independent Australia weekly newsletter. You may read the full version of this article online in the IA members-only area.
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