1 December 2021
The Set the standard report from the Australian Human Rights Commission, delivered yesterday by Kate Jenkins, details absolutely revolting behaviour. We must remember the catalyst for this inquiry: the shocking revelations that a rape of a young staffer was alleged to have occurred in a minister's office and that, despite a number of people within ministerial offices knowing about the allegation for nearly two years, no appropriate action was taken. The Prime Minister claims he was not aware of the allegations. Like Malcolm Turnbull and many others, I find this improbable. This happened on the PM's watch. It took Brittany Higgins's incredible bravery to pull back the curtain on this sordid episode and the march of thousands of women and men to shame the government into action.
I strongly support the 28 recommendations of the report and stress that the government must implement all the recommendations, especially a professional code of conduct for members of parliament and their staff. This must be made a priority of the government for the first sitting week of February 2022. Kate Jenkins also handed down the Respect@Work report, and we know that the government just cherry-picked some of those recommendations and it took nearly 18 months for those to be passed. We must set a higher standard in this place. We must not allow this kind of behaviour to continue a day longer.
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