Investigation finds widespread sexual harassment in Australian parliament

2021-12-01 14:15:54
Investigation finds widespread sexual harassment in Australian parliament

A high-profile inquiry into sexual harassment and bullying in Australia’s parliament has found “sexist culture” to be widespread.

The government-backed report – released on Tuesday following a seven-month investigation – said one in three people currently working at the parliament “have experienced some form of sexual harassment while working there”.

Including 63 percent of the country’s female parliamentarians.

“Aspiring male politicians who thought nothing of, in one case, picking you up, kissing you on the lips, lifting you up, touching you, pats on the bottom, comments about appearance, you know, the usual… the culture allowed it,” said one of the report’s 1,700 interviewees.

The inquiry was launched amid widespread outrage at the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins, a parliamentary staffer, inside a minister’s office after a night out with conservative Liberal Party colleagues in 2019.

Her allegations, which are still before the court, were followed by a string of allegations of rape and sexual harassment against politicians and their staffers that sparked nationwide demonstrations and demands for reform.

Green Party Senator Sarah Hanson-Young described the report as a “damning expose of the sexist culture and harassment in politics”.

"The statistics and comments are shocking, but for many women here they are not surprising and ring true to our own experiences,” she said.

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