Report Finds that Sexual Harassment was Rampant in Australian Parliament

New research released on Tuesday noted that one in every three persons working in Australia’s parliament had experienced some type of sexual harassment.

Set the Standard, a report filed by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, describes the experiences of persons working at the Australian parliament, commonly known as Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces.

The high-profile investigation into parliament’s working culture was launched after parliamentary worker Brittany Higgins claimed in 2019 that she was raped in a ministry office.

According to the research, 37% of respondents had directly encountered bullying, 33% had experienced sexual harassment, and 1% had had an actual or attempted sexual assault.

Gender disparity, power imbalance, and a lack of accountability were identified as important drivers of bullying, sexual harassment, and sexual assault in legislative workplaces by the assessment.

The study, which was tabled in the federal parliament, contained 28 reform proposals based on interviews with over 1,723 individuals and 33 organizations. 

The proposals included a joint Statement of Acknowledgement that owns and admits the problem, the establishment of a new Office for Staffing and Culture to assist lawmakers, and the establishment of an Independent Parliamentary Standards Committee to hold persons accountable for misbehavior.

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