A Parramatta Eels employee has spoken out after an image of her reaction to Prime Minister Scott Morrison crashing the club’s rooms went viral on Saturday night.
The Morrison government is at the centre of a wider debate about sexual discrimination, harassment and abuse after weeks of sex scandals and a Queensland MP’s inappropriate online behaviour.
The prime minister himself has been criticised for his responses to the ongoing conversation, sparked by former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins alleging she was raped by a colleague in 2019.
In his opening remarks in Question Time immediately after the ‘March 4 Justice’ rallies, Morrison noted that similar marches in other countries “are being met with bullets”.
He did not attend the rally outside Parliament House in Canberra.
On Saturday night, in the hours after addressing federal MP Andrew Laming’s behaviour, Morrison watched on as the Cronulla Sharks lost to Parramatta at Bankwest Stadium.
He entered the Eels’ rooms after their 28-4 win over the Sharks, cameras rolling as he congratulated the team and shook hands with the players.
Footage of one Parramatta employee’s reaction to the gesture, however, suggested not all were pleased to see him.
“Proud to claim this one!” Eels sports scientist Tahleya Eggers wrote on Twitter.
“I will not respect a man who has the time to shake hands of men who have won a football match but is ‘too busy’ to attend the March for Justice.”
Federal Labor MP Peta Murphy shared Eggers’ message with an emoji representing strength, while former Eels player Brad Takairangi said “gettem Tahleya”.
Parramatta also drew a fierce response on Twitter after sharing a photo of Morrison, claiming “he’s ours now @Cronulla_Sharks”.
NRL.com journalist Chris Kennedy was among those to address the timing of the image.
“Team, please read the replies to this tweet and read the room and consider taking this down,” he wrote.
“This is not something you want to claim.”
Meanwhile, female Liberal politicians have begun speaking out about the toxic culture inside Parliament House.
“I think for all women in the Liberal Party, we are pretty angry,” Senator Sarah Henderson told ABC’s Insiders program.
“But I do want to make the point that there are many men in our party who are also disgusted and very angry about what has happen.
“It is an historic opportunity to get this right and to address the things that are not right for women, not just in Parliament House, but across the country.”
– with AAP