Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has admitted to his government’s failure to tackle sexism, local media reported on Sunday, after allegations of rape, sexual harassment, bullying and misogyny since February has rocked the nation.
Morrison recently faced criticism of handling of the rape allegation against a former staffer and the historical rape allegation denied by Attorney-General Christian Porter, reports Xinhua news agency.
In an address to 400 government staff, Morrison acknowledged that some staff had “put up with some absolute rubbish”.
In his speech to staffers, audio of which was published by Nine Entertainment newspapers on Sunday, Morrison flagged significant changes to Parliament’s workplace culture.
“This has been a traumatic month, that is true, but for many here it has been a traumatic lifetime,” he said.
“So we will get on and address this. We will get on and make these changes. I ask you to work with us as we do that.”
Deputy PM Michael McCormack apologised thrice in a five-minute address during the meeting, which took place on March 23.
On Sunday, David Littleproud, the Minister for Agriculture, said that government employees were hurting.
“There’s a lot of hurt. My staff are hurt,” he told Sky News.
“You can’t live and work in an environment like this and not be disappointed. They feel let down, and we get that, for that we’re sorry.”
Attorney-General Porter and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds have taken medical leave and are likely to be demoted within days.
One staffer has been already fired amid the crisis.