The Weekend Australian

Safety to top agenda at national cabinet

- OLIVIA CAISLEY

Scott Morrison and the national cabinet will meet in Darwin to reset the national agenda on women’s safety and economic security, as state and territory leaders commit to responding to Sex Discrimina­tion Commission­er Kate Jenkins’ major report into sexual harassment in June.

The Prime Minister on Friday announced the national cabinet’s women-focused meeting in late July as Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk pushed him and other leaders to support a national women’s summit.

Mr Morrison warned all government­s must play a role in improving the lives of Australian women, and said a number of issues, including whether his government pursues a national plan for women’s economic security, would be canvassed at the Darwin meeting.

“No single government has full carriage of the issues that impact on women’s economic security,” he said in Canberra. “We all have a role to play so we will work off the informatio­n base of all the existing programs and activities, particular­ly post the developmen­t of most state and territory budgets and certainly the commonweal­th budget.”

State and territory leaders will respond to Ms Jenkins’ Respect@Work report more than a year after she finished it, and the response comes amid weeks of mounting pressure over the Morrison government’s handling of rape and sexual harassment claims

Ms Jenkins’ report delivered 55 recommenda­tions for preventing and addressing sexual harassment, which the Morrison government has agreed to inprincipl­e or in-part to six, and noted nine.

Mr Morrison also outlined plans to continue funding for family and domestic violence once the federal government’s $150m package — designed to help frontline workers with increased demand during COVID-19 — ends in late June.

He said domestic violence has continued to be an issue for vulnerable Australian­s as a result of COVID-19 and it was important the states and territorie­s worked closely with the federal government for equally sharing the cost and delivery of programs.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston is also setting up a summit on women’s safety to help inform the government’s approach to stopping domestic violence.

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