It feels like every time I’ve reached the point where my rage at this place is dying down, it dials up to white-hot anger once again. My privilege is that I have a voice in this chamber and I can channel my rage into demanding change in this place and across our country. But there are thousands of women in our community who don’t have a voice here and who are still not being heard. So this is for them. What is going on in this building does not just happen by itself. It happens because of a culture of impunity, a culture where people think that disrespect and harm to women is okay. That is in fact a culture that, in some corners of this building, seems to be the norm.
Permitting that culture of impunity starts from the top. It flourishes when the Prime Minister comes into this chamber and refuses to be straight about what he and his office knew about what happened to Brittany Higgins, and when the Prime Minister stands up at a press conference to explain how he’s finally had his light-bulb moment and he now gets it. And yet, in that very press conference, he weaponised a woman’s disclosure as a political defence strategy. This is not the serious reckoning we need in this place. This is not the leadership women are demanding. Enough is enough. Women should be safe in this building and they should be safe in every workplace across this country. Enough is enough.