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One In Three Parliamentary Staff Report Experiencing Sexual Harassment

One in three parliamentary staff report experiencing sexual harassment

One in three people in Parliament House report experiencing sexual harassment with 77 percent witnessing bullying.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins revealed the statistics in her damning report into parliamentary workplace culture released this week.

One in three parliamentary staff

Jenkins commenced her investigation following rape allegations made by former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins.

Higgins claims a fellow staffer sexually assaulted her in the Defence Minister’s office.

Thousands of current and former staff provided interviews and information to Jenkins, whether face-to-face, via telephone or in written submissions.

There were 1,723 individuals in addition to 33 organisations who contributed to the inquiry.

Jenkins also conducted an online survey, held focus groups, reviewed relevant data, legislation, in addition to polices and procedures.

The report found half of all people currently working at Parliament House experienced at least one incident of bullying, sexual harassment or actual or attempted sexual assault.

“That figure is unacceptably high,’’ Ms Jenkins said.

She described the culture inside Parliament House as “a boy’s club”.

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The report makes 25 recommendations.

Firstly, that party leaders and the heads of departments come together and agree and deliver a joint Statement of Acknowledgment to the Parliament.

“This Statement should acknowledge the harm caused by bullying, sexual harassment, and sexual assault in Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces and a commitment to action and shared accountability.”

The report also recommends the Parliament establish a leadership taskforce to implement the report’s recommendations.

It additionally calls for parliamentarians and senior Members of Parliament implement Codes of Conduct.

Furthermore, it recommends they also create a safe reporting culture, including supporting people who experience misconduct.

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Higgins calls for full implementation

Brittany Higgins urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take immediate action to implement the recommendations of the review.

However, when the pair subsequently met, he refused to do so.

”I want to thank the many brave people who shared their stories, which contributed to this review,’’ she said.

“I hope all sides of politics not only commit to but implement these recommendations in full.”

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard urged Scott Morrison to implement Codes of Conduct.

Gillard supports Code of Conduct

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who established the Global Women’s leadership institute, urged the Parliament to embrace a formal Code of Conduct.

“It’s time to change our federal parliament forever. As a result, we need a code of conduct and an effective way of receiving and acting on complaints. The Jenkins review gives us this,” Gillard said.

“We need all political parties to work together with urgency and ambition and commit to deliver the bold reforms that are needed.”

Lifeline  13 11 14

1800RESPECT  1800 737 732

QLife  1800 184 527

Beyond Blue  1300 223 636

MensLine Australia  1300 789 978

Kids Helpline  1800 551 800

If you have experienced sexual harassment, we can help.

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