‘Call out your sexist mates’: McCormack’s plea
Men need to call out their mates when they make sexist, lewd or inappropriate comments about women, Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says.
Mr McCormack has urged men to do more to create real change for women, amid growing calls for action to tackle the inequality highlighted in the wake of the explosive sexual assault allegations in politics.
For weeks women in politics, business and beyond have been telling their stories of assault, harassment and more as demands grow for more direct action from the nation's leaders.
Speaking candidly, the Deputy PM urged Australian men to call out their mates when needed, admitted there would have been times in his 40 year working career he could have done more to do this himself, and raised concerns that people were seeing Parliament as "a place of debauchery".
Mr McCormack said the past five weeks had made it abundantly clear that it was up to men to do better, whether it is in Parliament, business, or just with their mates.
He said it came down to respect, right down to conversations around the water cooler.
"Men need to think about their language and think about what they say and how they say it. And not just when women are present, either," Mr McCormack said.
"Even perhaps more importantly, when men are talking to men, they need to raise the bar.
"Raise the level be better about the conversations involving women, that sneering or that lewd remark about a female in the office is not acceptable.
"If they show respect, but just as importantly, if they call others out for the commentary that they might give, I think it may raise the standards. It will raise the standards."
Mr McCormack said it could be as simple as telling a mate, that what they said was not OK.
"Sometimes it's just saying, 'that's not very polite, you've got to do better than that'," he said.
"They can do it. Mates can talk to other mates in that way without losing a friendship.
"Just say, 'mate, you can do better than that'."
Speaking candidly, he admitted in his 40 year working career there would have been times he could have done better himself in calling out behaviour.
"I think anybody who's been working for decades probably think that yes, they could have done better," Mr McCormack said.
"I can't remember the specific incidents, but yes, they could have done better, we could all do better. None of us are perfect."
He said he had always tried to encourage women in the workplace.
"I've got a very strong and dynamic daughter myself and I didn't raise her any different to how I did my two boys," Mr McCormack said.
"Which is to say, get out there, have a go, put your hand up and if there's two paths to take in life, one hard and one easy, take the hard way because it will make you a better person."
The Morrison Government and Prime Minister Scott Morrison have been under fire for the handling of a series of allegations which have been raised, including the Brittany Higgins rape allegations and the historical rape allegations against Attorney-General Christian Porter, which he strongly denies.
Mr Morrison on Thursday said he would not take action against Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, and would not say if he had spoken to him, after the Tasmanian Parliament Speaker Sue Hickey claimed the Senator made "slut-shaming" comments about Ms Higgins.
Senator Abetz has publicly denied he made the comments, Liberal Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein wrote to the Prime Minister asking him to look into the allegations.
Originally published as 'Call out your sexist mates': McCormack's plea