When Scott Morrison announced his cabinet reshuffle on Monday, he confirmed what everyone already expected: Michaelia Cash is replacing Christian Porter as Attorney-General. Here’s why that’s a really, really bad choice.
For context, remember that Porter is being kicked out of the job off the back of historic rape allegations against him – which he categorically denies – going public.
So it makes very little sense, at the very least in terms of optics, that he’d be replaced by someone who has been accused of mishandling Brittany Higgins‘ rape allegations.
Higgins started working for Cash in 2019 after she was allegedly raped inside the office of her then-boss, Linda Reynolds. Higgins and Cash even had a meeting about it, but Cash claims that while she did know that an incident allegedly occurred, she didn’t know those allegations included rape.
“When Britney discussed this matter with my Chief of staff and I, she made it very clear that the matter had been dealt with at the time, seven months previously,” Cash said in February.
“She did not discuss the matter, and she did not want the matter taken any further.”
At one point, Cash even sent voicemails to Higgins telling her to “sleep tight” and that everything was “under control”. Clearly, it wasn’t.
Meanwhile, another former staffer, Rachelle Miller, has accused Cash of writing “demeaning” messages about her and forcing her into a “fake redundancy” because of Miller’s previous affair with her former boss, Alan Tudge.
“I strongly feel I have been discriminated against because of a personal relationship,” Miller said in a submission to an internal Department of Finance investigation.
Cash, for her part, rejects Miller’s claims and her version of events. A spokesperson for Cash previously said that “support, leave and flexible work arrangements were offered to” Miller.
However even if we ignore the fact that Cash is caught up in the recent wave of sexual assault, harassment and misconduct scandals plaguing the government, there are other reasons why she’d make a crap Attorney-General.
While Cash was cleared of any wrongdoing when the media were tipped off about a police raid of the Australian Workers Union in 2017, she still dragged her heels by refusing to speak to police and avoiding plenty of questions in parliament.
Great start. The new Attorney-General Michaelia Cash so respects the law that she refused to answer AFP questions about a serious leak of that union raid tip-off .
— Derryn Hinch (@HumanHeadline) March 29, 2021
Very cool that Michaelia Cash, the person who spent $289 000 of taxpayers' money on defending raids on union offices, is now the Attorney General. Very cool and normal areas. Nothing to see here. #AusPol #ScottyFromDamageControl
— The AMWU (@theamwu) March 29, 2021
Then, of course, there was the whiteboard incident, in which Cash hid from reporters after threatening to spill a bunch of sensitive rumours about opposition staffers in parliament.
Anyway, that’s the crux of it. Surely they could’ve found someone who wasn’t tainted by the very same wave of scandals which is currently tearing the government apart.
One can wish.
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