Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he has good reason to reject an invitation to address a rally of women being organised today outside Parliament House in Canberra to protest sexual abuse and discrimination against women.
Speaking to reporters inside Parliament House this morning, Mr Morrison said his decision not to attend the rally in person was prompted by his wife Jenny.
“Jenny and I spoke last night,” he said, “and she said to me: ‘You have to think about this as a useless, clueless, happy clapping Christian-right dipshit first.’
“Jenny told me: ‘If you go and speak to that rally you’ll only say something shallow and stupid and make matters a whole lot worse for yourself and the government. As if that were possible.’
“Jenny has a way of clarifying things. She always has,” Mr Morrison said.
He told reporters that regardless of his wife’s advice he did not believe that he, as prime minister, was the right person to attend such a rally.
“Look, in reality when it comes to addressing a lot of the issues that will be raised at today’s rally the best role the federal government can play is to consider strengthening existing laws,” Mr Morrison said.
“The responsibility for law reform within my government rests with the Attorney-General so it’s disappointing to me that Christian Porter is currently on leave for some reason and can’t go and speak to the ladies who’ll gather outside the building today.
“I mean I really don’t know what their problem is. They really shouldn’t worry their pretty little heads over whatever it is they are going on about.
“But I do respect women’s right to protest just as I respect the rights of men. I mean, how good is equal rights as long as it’s not at the expense of men?” Mr Morrison said.
Before ending the news conference Mr Morrison denied he had dressed as a woman today (main picture) to make it easier for him to enter and move around the parliamentary precinct as today’s rally progressed.
“No, that’s not the reason at all,” he said.
But when pressed for a reason he did not divulge one, instead saying: “I don’t accept the premise of your question.
“And that’s no way to speak to a lady,” he added.