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Scott Morrison Was Slammed For His Keynote Speech At Today’s Women’s Safety Summit

"He clearly doesn’t believe a word he’s saying so why should we?"

Image of Scott Morrison on blue background speaking, with tweet that reads "he knows we vote, right?

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The highly politicised two-day Women’s Safety Summit kicked off today, after being postponed from its original date back in July due to the COVID outbreak.

The summit is supposed to inform the next National Plan on family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia, and there have been some great panellists highlighting some really important issues, such as assault on Indigenous women. But people are sceptical about the event — partly, because Scott Morrison gave himself the honour of the keynote speech.

Maybe some of that scepticism is because of his decision to promote Christian Porter despite the historical rape allegations against him (which he denies) or the Government’s sexual assault awareness training that was originally introduced as optional for MPs yet compulsory for younger staff, or because of the allegations of a “toxic, sexist culture” reported from within the ranks by Julia Banks.

Or maybe it’s because the whole event comes just days after the Government failed to pass 49 of the 55 recommendations made by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, in her arduous ‘National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces Report’ (even though Morrison said he would adopt all recommendations back in April).

Australian of the Year Grace Tame has symbolically rolled her eyes at the whole summit, despite being a speaker. She said in the Sydney Morning Herald that the Government has shown “a clear pattern of denial, minimisation, ultimately dismissal of women’s issues…This summit is an extension of that. It’s been so poorly organised, it’s incredibly secretive, it’s also very exclusionary. It has a comically narrow remit — focusing on what are the little Band-Aids we can put on this situation.”

The day kicked off with the man of the hour, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, whose opening keynote address kindly informed women they were not safe anywhere (cool, thanks for that memo), and discussed the long-term impact of sexual assault on women’s lives.

He then detailed a letter he received “in running writing” that told of a historical rape and the lifetime of trauma it inflicted. Grace Tame pointed out on Twitter, “he appropriated private disclosures from survivors to leverage his own image. Gee, I bet it felt good to get that out.”

And this was largely the online sentiment around Morrison’s keynote — people weren’t really buying what he was selling.