The organiser of today's national justice march for women has demanded structural reform from Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack during a tense exchange in Canberra.
Janine Hendry, the woman behind nationwide protests calling for gender equality and action on gendered violence, confronted the Deputy Prime Minister in the halls of parliament house this morning where she told him "women are drawing a line in the sand".
Mr McCormack said on Sunday he would be too busy to meet the thousands of people expected to descend on parliament house today under the March 4 Justice banner.
Speaking on the ABC's Insiders program from outside his Wagga electorate office, Mr McCormack said he had prior commitments and would be in "meetings all day" that would prevent him from meeting with protesters in Canberra.
The Daily Advertiser has asked Mr McCormack's office for a copy of his diary for today.
A local protest is planned for Mr McCormack's home city today, where women and their supporters will march through Wagga to voice their anger at the handling of recent sexual assault allegations engulfing Canberra.
Ms Hendry told Mr McCormack, who is now in Canberra for a parliamentary sitting week, this morning that she had emailed him personally to ask him to come out and meet with protesters at parliament house.
"I would really liked you to have come out to listen to the voices of the women of Australia because we have a lot to say," she said.
"I would very much appreciate it and I certainly know that the 100,000 women around Australia would like to feel as if their voices are actually being heard and like their very own government has their backs."
Mr McCormack said: "I'll see what I can do. I'm not making any promises but I'll see what I can do."
The Sydney Morning Herald, Sky News and Ten News First all shared videos of Mr McCormack and Ms Hendry's exchange.
Ms Hendry asked Mr McCormack to commit to taking "responsibility for starting to enact some of the structural and systemic changes that we need not only in parliament but throughout our major institutions".
She said now was the time for action and questioned Mr McCormack on a "pretty scathing" report from the Australian Human Rights Commission into sexual harassment in workplaces, which was handed down more than a year ago.
The report made 55 recommendations that have not yet been taken up by the federal government
"To be clear, the Australian human rights commission report landed on the Attorney General's desk over 12 months ago and we have not seen any implementation of the recommendations that were in that report," Ms Hendry said.
"So when you tell me that you're willing to look at it I'm going to tell you that I want some action."