This post deals with sexual assault and might be triggering for some readers.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday morning, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison vowed to do more. More to ensure people working in federal parliament feel safe to go about their work, and more to support them when they raise claims that suggest otherwise.
His comments came on the back of allegations by former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins that she was raped by a colleague inside Parliament House in 2019.
The Prime Minister said he listened to Brittany and what she had to say. But by his own telling, his approach to the allegation was inspired by a conversation with his wife.
"Jenny and I spoke last night," Prime Minister Morrison said. "And she said to me, 'You have to think about this as a father first. What would you want to happen if it were our girls?'
"Jenny has a way of clarifying things — always has."
That Brittany's experience has finally been acknowledged by federal leadership is, at least, a step forward. But if our Prime Minister's capacity to empathise with her is hinged on imagining his daughters in the same position, well, that's a fundamental problem.
Unfortunately, it's one he's demonstrated before.
Watch: Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Brittany Higgins' allegations. Post continues after video.
In October 2020, 13 Australian women travelling through Doha airport had their genitals examined by Qatari authorities without proper consent or explanation. Prime Minister Morrison's response?
"It was appalling," he said. "As a father of daughters, I could only shudder at the thought that anyone would, Australian or otherwise, be subjected to that."
"As a father..."
What those women endured in Doha is not appalling because they are daughters — or more to the point, because they could have been the Prime Minister's. It's appalling, full stop.
And the same applies to Brittany.