A third of employees in Australia’s federal parliament has been sexually harassed, states a report on the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces.
After a former staffer of Australia’s federal parliament, Brittany Higgins, had stated that she was raped by a colleague in a minister’s office, a report was commissioned.
On 5 March 2021, the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces (Review) was established by the Australian Government. At the conclusion of the review, a report was launched.
This Report on the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces shows that one in three (33%) people currently working in CPWs have experienced some form of sexual harassment while working there.
It found 63% of female parliamentarians had experienced sexual harassment – an even higher percentage than for political staffers.
The Review Survey results indicate that people who bullied or sexually harassed people in CPWs were predominantly in a more powerful position than the person experiencing the behaviour.
Over half (53%) of people in CPWs who have experienced sexual harassment and over three-quarters (78%) of people who have experienced bullying disclosed that their most recent experience of harassment or bullying by a single perpetrator was by someone more senior.
The report states that there is momentum for change and the proposed Framework for Action sets out a clear path to ensure that CPWs are safe and respectful, uphold the standing of the Parliament, and are a worthy reflection of the community that they serve.
Based on the specific risk factors and underlying drivers, the Commission proposes five key shifts that can transition CPWs to a safer and more respectful work environment.
The Commission recommends implementing these changes in a phased way over a two-year period, giving priority to progressing actions to develop new standards, policies, and processes while new structures are being established.