Sexual harassment rife inside Australian parliament, report finds

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the findings ‘appalling’ and ‘disturbing’

Colin Packham
Tuesday 30 November 2021 10:37
Comments
<p>One third of people working in Australia’s parliament have experienced sexual harassment, according to a report </p>

One third of people working in Australia’s parliament have experienced sexual harassment, according to a report

One in three people working in Australia’s parliament have experienced sexual harassment, a report has found, following an independent inquiry into parliamentary workplace culture.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who ordered the review in February after his party came under pressure over its handling of an alleged rape inside the building, said on Tuesday that the findings were “appalling” and “disturbing”.

The review detailed widespread improper behaviour, and found that more than half of the people who responded had experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment, bullying or actual or attempted sexual assault.

“Such experiences leave a trail of devastation for individuals and their teams and undermine the performance of our parliament to the nation’s detriment,” it said.

Mr Morrison said parliament must clean up its act.

“Like anyone who works in this building, I find the statistics that are presented here, of course appalling and disturbing,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“I wish I found them more surprising.”

Mr Morrison is under pressure to address parliamentary culture ahead of an election due in the first half of next year. Support for his conservative coalition government fell in the wake of the rape allegation, while thousands of women marched across the country calling for greater equality.

The report made 28 recommendations, including greater gender balance among both lawmakers and their staff, new alcohol policies and the creation of a new human resources office to deal with complaints.

Reuters

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in