Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison publicly apologised for raising an unsubstantiated allegation of harassment at a media company as he defended his handling of a scandal over the treatment of women in politics and his party. At a media conference on Tuesday, Morrison had said he would drive cultural change amid mounting public dissatisfaction over a series of allegations about the mistreatment of women, But during the event, he became involved in a terse exchange with a journalist from News Corp's Sky News and claimed the company was investigating a harassment complaint made by a female staffer. The issue of gender inequality spurred tens of thousands of people to rally around Australia last week and led to a slump in Morrison's standing in opinion polls. Morrison drew flak for declining to meet the protestors outside Parliament House. Morrison has said he will announce a series of measures to improve gender equality in politics in the coming weeks, and hinted he may now back quotas on female candidates for his Liberal Party at the next election, due by mid-2022.