Higgins and Tame must demand Morrison’s head


An apology is a very useful thing. If legitimate, an apology represents the acceptance of responsibility, expression of remorse, and desire for reconciliation. Only these three features of an apology will deliver the validation and justice implied by the act.

Is that what we witnessed today in the Australian Parliament? Judge for yourself:

“I rise to recognise all of those who are why we are here today making this acknowledgment. I particularly want to acknowledge Ms Brittany Higgins, whose experience, and more importantly courage, is the reason we are all here today. And I want to thank her for that.”

“I also want to recognise all of those who have contributed to the Jenkins review. Some 1700 individuals contributed.”

“This review speaks of a long-standing culture, generations of culture in this place and in the building before it, of bullying and harassment. A power imbalance, over that time, that has been exploited. And that exploitation, abuse and harassment has played itself out through terrible, traumatic and harrowing experiences.”

…“I am proud that this is a chamber in which we have done this on so many occasions,”

“I am sorry. We are sorry. I am sorry to Ms Higgins for the terrible things that took place here. And the place that should have been a place for safety and contribution, turned out to be a nightmare.”

“I am sorry for far more than that. All of those who came before Ms Higgins.”

“We are sorry for all of these things, and in doing so, each of us take an accountability for change. For those of us who have perpetuated the bullying and violence, the light will come to those behaviours. As it must.”

“But it will follow and respect the rule of law in this country. It will proceed on the basis of fairness and justice. It will be done in the proper way. Justice should come, and it should always be delivered under the rule of law.”

To my mind, this is very much a fake apology. Why emphasise the “long-standing” nature of the issues when they have all come to light under the Morrison regime? Why mention the “rule of law” when that is implicit in the twenty-odd current investigations derived from the Morrison regime?


Most importantly, why is PM Scott Morrison even delivering this message? Why hasn’t he resigned in disgrace? Imagine for a moment if the same circumstances of systemic abuse arose in a private-sector corporation. The share price would be hammered until the CEO, chairperson and probably the entire board was hounded out of office (at minimum temporarily). It is questionable that it would survive.

It will doubtless be argued by some that Morrison should not resign over allegations. But that misses the point. As the leader of a party and parliament over which now towers a mushroom cloud of smut, it is the obligation of the leader to step down to reinforce behavioural normatives and ethics.

That would apply anywhere, and doubly so in the Westminster system.


Morrison’s presence is a standing failure that renders his apology “completely psycho ” and it should be disregarded by all.

Tomorrow we turn to the reply by Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame at the press club. Tame has shown her displeasure this afternoon:


From one centrist radical to others, I humbly suggest that Tame and Higgins call for Morrison’s head tomorrow. I doubt he’d survive it if they do so. And if he does, it will in no uncertain terms instruct all decent Australians what they should do in May to restore order.

If you want change then take down the PM responsible.

About the author
David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal. He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.