TUESDAY, MARCH 23
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has broken down in tears describing his wife, mother and daughters as “the centre of his life” as he described the “crap” women have put up with all their lives.
In an emotional press conference, the Prime Minister said he was shocked and disgusted by a month of revelations over alleged rapes, sexual assault and “disgusting behaviour” by men at Parliament House.
A Liberal staffer was sacked on Monday after Channel 10 aired revelations he had sent an image of himself performing a lewd act on a female MP’s desk to a group of fellow staffers, in the latest scandal to rock Parliament House.
The Prime Minister acknowledged it had been a “traumatic month” in parliament, since former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins alleged she was raped by a colleague in the building in 2019.
“Criticise me if you like for speaking about my daughters, but they are the centre of my life,’’ he said.
“My wife is the centre of my life. My mother, my widowed mother is the centre of my life. They motivate me every day on this issue. They have motivated me my entire life, they have taught me the values and the faith that sustains me every single day in this job.
“Which is why I am here, I owe them everything. And to them I say to you girls, I will not let you down.
“To the many other women who are in this place, who have shared their stories with me, I thank you for your feedback, your honesty, your support, your counsel, and your courage.
“I know there are plenty of women who work in this building today, whether they be members or senators, investors, shadow ministers, staff, journalists, who say ‘Why should I bother? Why should I bother? Why should I not just walk away?’
“There has never been a more important time for women to stand in this place. I want to see more women in this place, I have done anything to get more women in this place and I intend to do more.
“I have put more women in my cabinet than any other Prime Minister has before, and I look forward to doing more. I need women to stand with me.”
Mr Morrison said he would address all staff today about the revelations that men had filmed themselves masturbating on female MPs desks.
The Prime Minister said many good women and men worked at Parliament House.
“We must get our House in order,’’ he said.
“Women have been putting up with this crap all their lives.”
In a shock development, the Prime Minister also revealed he was open to the idea of quotas to increase the number of female Liberal MPs, an idea that had been resisted for decades.
“My colleagues know well that I am very open to these questions. I have had some frustrations about trying to get women preselected for running for the Liberal Party to come into this place,’’ he said.
“When it comes to that issue, I don’t hold the other reservations. Why? I think other Liberals will come to this view over the point of time. We tried it the other way and it isn’t getting us the results so I would like to see us do better on that front.”
The Prime Minister said he was considering the issue of consent education in schools and greater funding for rape crisis centres.
“All of the above, and more, and if you go across the fourth National action plan, and a Social Services Minister I had responsibility for earlier national action plans, they include all of these things,’’ he said.
“Is important to remember that these action plans are done together with the states and territories and many of the services delivered are also delivered by the states, so this is something we generally have to do together, and we have been doing together.
“But I would urge that the path we have to go down is one that we have to go down together. This is not an issue that should be the subject of partisan contest, it really shouldn’t. That will slow us down, that will not get the outcomes.”
More rain is expected to hit already flood-devastated areas of NSW, with fears 15,000 residents across the state could be forced to evacuate today as two major weather fronts collide.
Residents along the Colo River in the NSW Central Tablelands have been told to “evacuate now” as “extremely high” record floods threaten the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment.
The damaging weather and flooding has caused a number of roads and schools across the state to close today, with authorities warning the next 24 hours will be “critical” as heavy rain and wild weather is set to intensify today.
Parts of southern Queensland are being warned there is a “serious risk” of “life-threatening” landslips in steep terrain, with heavy rainfall and flash flooding likely to continue today.
There’s a severe weather warning in place for people on the south-east coast, the Darling Downs and Granite Belt, Maranoa and Warrego, and parts of Central West and Wide Bay.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said the situation was likely to pose a risk to areas recently affected by heavy rainfall.
Six-hourly rainfall totals of between 100mm to 150mm are likely, and locally heavier falls are possible, with thunderstorms.
This morning, a major flood warning was also issued for the Logan River and a moderate flood warning for the Albert River.
The Logan River at Beaudesert is currently at 7.32 metres and rising with the river level expected to exceed the major flood level of 8.30m this morning as heavy rainfall continues.
Rocks and dirt have fallen onto a road in Michelton in Brisbane.(Supplied)
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Director Brian Cox said three homes on the Gold Coast were evacuated yesterday after a landslip on Cresthill Drive at Wongawallan.
Ten people dead, including at least one police officer, after a gunman dressed in tactical gear methodically shot shoppers at a supermarket in the US city of Boulder, Colorado while saying nothing, according to witnesses, news.com reports.
The man opened fire at the King Soopers grocery store at South Boulder about 2.50pm local time on Monday.
The Boulder Police Department wrote on Twitter: “ALERT: Active Shooter at the King Soopers on Table Mesa. AVOID THE AREA. PIO is en-route.”
Eyewitness accounts say a man in full tactical gear opened fire in the car park of the grocery store before moving into the store where the shooting continued.
Soon after, a shirtless white man with a beard was escorted from the scene with his hands cuffed behind his back. He had blood running down his right leg and was limping.
Paramedics placed him on a stretcher before he was lifted into the back of an ambulance and accompanied by police.
Fox News reports there are “at least six people dead”, including one police officer but other deaths are expected. Witnesses say there were at least three people on the ground, not moving, and more than 10 injured.
At a press conference outside the supermarket, authorities said there was only one suspect and no details about a motive at this stage.
“We had a very tragic incident today,” Boulder Police Commander Kerry Yamaguchi said.
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