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Independent investigation and review critical to protect staff in political offices

Media Release
Larissa Waters 17 Feb 2021

Response to PM’s letter
 
"The Greens welcome the apparent acknowledgement by the PM that the review of the complaints and support process should be conducted not by his Deputy Secretary but independently of government", said Senator Larissa Waters, Greens Leader in the Senate and Spokesperson for Women.
 
"Likewise, the Prime Minister should now make the culture review independent, not by a Liberal MP, and the Greens still assert that the Sex Discrimination Commissioner is best placed to do such a review.
 
"Internal processes were always putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. We know sexism and misogyny is rife in politics, we cannot rely on a Liberal politician investigating the culture of parliament house when 3 allegations of assault and harassment from Liberal staffers have come to light in just the last few years.
 
“In November last year I wrote to the Government and Opposition leaders of the Senate asking to work together, across party lines on strengthening complaints processes and ensuring the safety of all staff, particularly for women. While I did not receive a reply back then, I am pleased to see both major parties now support an independent review and look forward to working together to introduce a robust complaints procedure that staff can have confidence in.
 
“The now-to-be-independent review of current complaints process must address the issue that MPs can’t be disciplined by the Finance Department. The Greens parliamentary standards bill would fix that by creating an enforceable code of conduct that would have consequences for MPs and senior staff who engage in misconduct, including harassment."
 
The Greens Parliamentary Standards Bill can be found here: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=s1227

Response to Brittany’s second statement

“Brittany Higgins has rightly called out the Prime Minister’s victim-blaming comments, and repeated that she was made to feel that her job was at risk if she went to police."
 
“As more information about the mishandling of Brittany Higgins’ alleged rape case comes to light it beggars belief that the PM wasn’t aware of Ms Higgin’s experience until a few days ago.  The PM cannot escape the mounting inconsistencies in relation to accounts of events that smack of a cover up,”
 
“Today the Greens lodged a motion in the Senate calling for an independent investigation into the mishandling of Brittany Higgins’ case. The Prime Minister must show leadership and support such an investigation – a critical first step to establish who knew what and when, just how many people were complicit in the cover-up  and how to ensure no other staffer goes through what Ms Higgins’ has endured."
 
Motion available here - https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Chamber_documents/Senate_chamber_documents/Notice_Paper/Current_Notice_Paper

 

END

 

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