Pauline Hanson claims she is too old to sexually harass anyone, and therefore has refused respectful workplace training.
The one-hour face-to-face training is mandatory for ministers and their staff, however, it is voluntary for the opposition and backbenchers.
Pauline Hanson claims to be ‘too old’
Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins recommended the training as part of her ‘Set the Standard’ report into misconduct inside Parliament House.
Her investigation came about as a result of a rape allegation made by former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins.
Hanson, who is 67, told Nine Newspapers she is too old to sexually harass anyone. A claim soon rejected by experts.
Never too old
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan said you can never be too old to sexually harass someone.
“Ms Hanson’s statement shows her complete ignorance in relation to sexual harassment,” he said.
“We represent plenty of clients who have experienced sexual harassment at the hands of much older people.”
Mr Heffernan pointed to 79 year-old former High Court Justice Dyson Heydon who sexually harassed a number of much younger colleagues.
“And then there’s film producer Harvey Weinstein – he was sexually harassing and assaulting women in his 60s,” he said.
“In fact, Weinstein was 67 – the same age as Senator Hanson – when he was sentenced to 23 years in prison.”
NEXT READ Legal profession
Hanson misses important teaching moment
“The respectful workplace training, which was meant to be completed by the end of last year, includes instruction on what to do when a member of your staff tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted. Hint: you don’t say ‘It didn’t happen.’
“Given that Hanson, 67, is also still spritely enough to have publicly sprayed participants of the March4Justice rally early last year, including Brittany Higgins who alleged that she was raped by a fellow Liberal staffer, for “demonising men” you have to wonder if the senator missed out on a teaching moment here.”
Standard training for all workplaces
Hanson isn’t alone. Liberal Senator Gerard Rennick has also refused to sign up to the sexual harassment training, claiming the program will not help women’s safety.
Mr Heffernan described both senator’s attitudes as “appalling”.
“If these two worked in the real world, their employer would direct them to attend regular sexual harassment training sessions,” he said.
“Employers can defend a sexual harassment claim if they can show they took every reasonable step to prevent the conduct.
“And regular training is an essential part of that.”
If you have experienced sexual harassment, we can help.
To connect with us, please follow us on