Scott Morrison has made a fresh pledge to clean up politics and improve the lives of women after more damaging revelations underscored weeks of intensifying pressure.
The prime minister promised to "get our house in order" after it emerged male staffers filmed themselves performing solo sex acts in the offices of female MPs.
One week after Mr Morrison refused to meet with protesters outside Parliament House, citing regular practice, he acknowledged some of his responses to the various allegations had missed the mark.
"I acknowledge that many Australians, especially women, believe that I have not heard them, and that greatly distresses me," he told reporters during an extraordinary media conference in Canberra.
Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins' allegation she was raped in Parliament House by a colleague in 2019 continues to reverberate more than a month after it surfaced.
The prime minister choked back tears as he defended focusing on consulting wife Jenny and speaking "as a father" when responding to sexual assault.
But there was no substantive policy overhaul, other than a commitment to put more of his weight behind quotas in the Liberal Party he leads.
"I have heard, I have listened and I will have a lot more to say about this in the next month about further action," Mr Morrison said.
"But today is not a day for me to list out a list of further actions."
Mr Morrison's sombre tone evaporated when he launched an extraordinary attack on a Sky News journalist after he questioned if the prime minister's job should be in jeopardy over the myriad issues.
"You are free to make your criticisms and to stand on that pedestal, but be careful," he said.
The prime minister claimed he knew about a person at the news organisation who had a complaint against them relating to harassing a woman in a toilet.
News Corp executive chairman Michael Miller said Mr Morrison's statement was simply untrue and undermined the rights of people to speak up confidentially.
In parliament, the prime minister committed to an interim complaints process while Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins reviews the workplace culture at parliament.
Mr Morrison admitted his responses to the furore around the treatment of women in Australia had fallen short.
"These events have triggered, right across this building and indeed right across the country, women who have put up with this rubbish and this crap for their entire lives, as their mothers did, as their grandmothers did," he told reporters.
He said it had been a traumatic month.
"We must get our house in order," Mr Morrison said.
Senior Labor frontbencher Kristina Keneally acknowledged Mr Morrison's mea culpa but questioned why it took five weeks of anger to spark the response.
"What I haven't heard from the prime minister is what he is going to do about that," she told Sky News.
"If the prime minister is serious about making real change ... then let's see some specific actions."
Senator Keneally said quotas for coalition preselection, domestic violence services and closing the gender pay gap were key issues that needed action.
A guard on duty the night of the alleged rape of Ms Higgins office has questioned the prime minister's claim the accused man was sacked because of a "security breach".
Mr Morrison said the accused man was sacked because he had "form", including accessing classified documents in the then defence industry minister's office.
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham insists attending the office out of hours for a non-work purpose while drunk did amount to a security breach, but the guard did nothing wrong.
Australian Associated Press