Prime Minister Scott Morrison is contemplating the political future of Christian Porter and whether he remains as Attorney-General.
Reports late on Wednesday suggest a reshuffle will be announced before either Mr Porter or Defence Minister Linda Reynolds return from medical leave, delegating their roles elsewhere.
The reshuffle speculation was fuelled by a shift from the Prime Minister's previously strong support for Mr Porter, accused of a sexual assault in 1988. That support evaporated this week.
In question time on Wednesday, Mr Morrison failed to back his Attorney-General to return to the role, saying he was considering the advice from the Solicitor-General and its application to the government's ministerial guidelines.
"When I have concluded that assessment I will make a determination and an announcement at that time," Mr Morrison told Parliament. Earlier this month, the Prime Minister was declaring Mr Porter "an innocent man under our law".
Mr Porter is due to return to work next week. Senator Reynolds will not return this month.
The government's agenda has been sidelined by allegations of serious mistreatment of women in politics that have rocked Parliament and the Prime Minister's own reputation has taken a hit by his responses to the scandals.
Mr Morrison pledged to personally take on the responsibility of implementing recommendations from the Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins' Respect @ Work report, which was delivered to the government in March last year and not acted upon since.
The government plans to announce its work program on those reforms to Parliament before the May budget. The work would involve the Attorney-General, the Prime Minister said on Wednesday, but did not clarify who would be in the role.
"It is not for me to make commentary about what judgements people make about me and whether I have listened or not," Mr Morrison said in Parliament on Wednesday.
"I can only say to the women of Australia ... what Australian women are looking for from me is to demonstrate my understanding of the issues that they have raised and that I am listening to the great pain that they have been enduring."
The Prime Minister reiterated an apology in Parliament for "raising something I should never have raised" in pushing back against a reporter's question earlier this week, and for "not respecting those individuals who are at the centre of the particular issue".
Liberal MP Katie Allen says she backs the Prime Minister, but he was right to apologise.
The Prime Minister was facing a "very stressful situation of questioning where he was being questioned in a certain way", Dr Allen said on Wednesday. The Liberal MP went on to say women wanted to hear what it was that Parliament was going to deliver for them. "Let's move on," she said.
Independent MP Zali Steggall accused the Prime Minister of "man-splaining" after his comments in the Parliament. The House of Representatives spent an entire day on "nothing vital", Dr Steggall said, while it delayed her bill to amend the Sex Discrimination Act in line with the Respect @ Work recommendations that would improve the safety of women in parliament. That bill won't be addressed until May.
"Women are tired of the delays. They want legislation," she said.
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