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Australia politics news live updates: Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame to respond to Morrison apology; Labor’s religious discrimination dilemma

Now it’s their turn.

As Sarah Martin pointed out yesterday, five men spoke first in parliament on its toxic workplace. The “statement of acknowledgement” recognised the bullying, harassment and assaults staff – predominantly women – had faced.

Former staffer Brittany Higgins, whose alleged rape lit a fire under the issue, wasn’t invited until the last moment. It was the same for the other women who had spoken out – former staffers Rachelle Miller, Chelsey Potter and Josie Coles, and sexual consent campaigner Chanel Contos.

They watched on as prime minister Scott Morrison said: “I am sorry”.

Today Higgins will take the stage at the National Press Club, alongside former Australian of the year Grace Tame.

It’s unlikely they’ll hold back.

On the legislative front, Labor faces a quandary today about the religious discrimination bill. The government wants changes to the sex discrimination act to protect gay students from being expelled, but is not extending that protection to transgender students. There will be shadow cabinet and caucus meetings today. Labor MP Stephen Jones gave a powerful speech last night about the effect of leaving trans kids in the cold:


Last week my family said farewell to my nephew Ollie. He was just 15 when he took his own life. He was a beautiful, creative, courageous young man. He was loved and accepted by his parents, brothers and friends. His mum and dad are in anguish. We all are. He was gay. He was uncertain about his gender and struggled with his mental health. Now he is gone and we will no longer be able to love him and support him on his journey throughout life. Clearly the love and acceptance of his family and friends was not enough.

Morrison told his party room yesterday that getting the religious discrimination bill through was the path to electoral victory. He’s trying to set it up as a vote for multiculturalism, but hasn’t even convinced all those on his own side.

Labor reckons aged care might be a vote swinger.

The text-based attacks on Morrison’s character from earlier in the week (was that really just Monday?) have faded from the headlines and Labor will use question time today to again hammer the coalition over the crisis in aged care.

The Health Services Union is in town, carrying survey results that show most Australians are keen to give health workers a 25% pay rise.

Meanwhile, those pesky anti-vaccine mandate protesters are still lurking around, threatening chaos.

Katharine Murphy, Sarah Martin, Paul Karp, Daniel Hurst and Josh Butler will steer you through today, with pictorial highlights from Mike Bowers.

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