• Tony Bosworth

MP Susan Templeman joins colleagues at March 4 Justice protest in Canberra

There was a big turnout today in Canberra at the March 4 Justice event demanding action on workplace abuse, and our Federal MP Susan Templeman attended to hear from speakers, including Brittany Higgins who was allegedly raped in Parliament House.

MP Susan Templeman at the March 4 Justice event today, with Canberra MP Alicia Payne on Ms Templeman's left

Before the march – which attracted thousands of protestors, both men and women, though mostly women - Ms Templeman held a doorstop interview on the steps of Parliament House where she blasted the Prime Minister for not meeting protestors.

PM Scott Morrison had offered to meet a delegation of the protestors but they had refused, asking instead for him to address the crowd.

“This is the very day for the Prime Minister to come out, lift the veil on this, make it transparent. I'd urge the Prime Minister to reconsider his decision,” Ms Templeman said.

“Women should not be forced to have conversations behind closed doors. That's what today is about. It's about thousands of women being out in the open saying, we have had enough.”

Ms Templeman said she was “one of those mothers who's had a phone call from a daughter saying, can you just talk to me at one o'clock in the morning or two o'clock in the morning while I'm walking home?”

She said that was unacceptable and that girls and women should simply be able to go about their daily lives without feeling threatened.

“For young women now, I'm pleased to say that there's going to be a lot of older women standing up for them. It's our job as MPs to make sure that it's easier for women to be heard than to stay silent,” said Ms Templeman.

Although the alleged rape of Parliamentary staffer Brittany Higgins – who spoke at the Canberra event – threw a spotlight on how some Liberal government ministers poorly handled the allegation of rape, Ms Templeman didn’t shy away from other allegations aired this morning that there was also a toxic culture in parts of the Labor Party in Parliament.

“I don't care what party a bloke is from, Ms Templeman said. “It's not on. Enough is enough. And the women of Labor, and many men of the Labor Party, are going to be standing up for our young women. We want an environment where women come to Parliament and have a fantastic professional experience.

“I started off in the Canberra press gallery in the ‘80s. Yes, it's a challenging environment to work in, especially 35 years ago. But it has to be a safe environment. And that's what every woman in the Labor Party will be working hard to achieve. And I hope every man in the Labor Party will be working hard to achieve that too. "I've read those reports last night and they were horrific, this should not be happening in the Labor Party. None of it should be happening anywhere in this place, nor in our offices.

"This is time for us to lift the lid, to be transparent, all the more reason for the Prime Minister to come and have a transparent discussion with not just three or four women but with the many women who are going to be here today.”

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