Brittany Higgins criticises PM’s keynote speech on women’s safety

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called on all Australians to do more to make women feel safe in the face of domestic violence and sexual assault in a keynote speech which was quick to be criticised by advocates.

Speaking at the Federal Government's National Summit on Women's Safety, Mr Morrison said there had not been enough progress when it came to attitudes towards women.

"Right now, too many Australian women do not feel safe and too often, they are not safe, and that is not okay. There is no excuse, and sorry does not cut it," Mr Morrison told the women's safety summit.

READ MORE: Man to be charged over alleged sexual assault of Brittany Higgins

2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame and Prime Minister Scott Morrison during the 2021 Australian of the Year Awards ceremony at the National Arboretum in Canberra on Monday 25 January 2021

"As Prime Minister, I have a responsibility. Every Australian has a responsibility. Parents, schools, sports clubs, the media, every government, has a responsibility. And we have to do better and strive to be better."

The women's safety summit was announced earlier this year after former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins went public with allegations she was raped in Parliament House in 2019.

Reacting to the prime minister's speech, Ms Higgins accused Mr Morrison of resorting to "platitudes".

https://twitter.com/BrittHiggins_/status/1434680531652780036?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

READ MORE: Former Liberal MP Julia Banks launches scathing attack on Scott Morrison

Ms Higgins said the only reason she was able to be a delegate at the summit was because the ACT Government and the Victims of Crime Commission stepped in to have her invited.

The summit is aimed at helping shape the next national plan to address violence against women and families.

Hundreds of experts, women's advocates and business leaders were expected to gather in Canberra for the summit but the event is now being streamed online because of lockdown.

Mr Morrison said had felt the rage, dread and frustration from women that our culture was not changing in the letters and emails they had sent him.

"We have to talk about the way some men think they own women, about the way some women are subject to disrespect, coercion and violence. This must continue to change. Because if not now, when?"

Criticism of the summit has also come from Australian of the Year and sexual assault survivor Grace Tame who told The Sydney Morning Herald the event was "poorly organised, incredibly secretive, and also very exclusionary".

Ms Tame also took to Twitter to criticise Mr Morrison's speech.

https://twitter.com/TamePunk/status/1434678579485298689?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

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