Update: we secured a strong Code of Conduct!

When federal parliament began considering what standards it would require parliamentarians to meet, Fair Agenda mobilised alongside rights and integrity groups to keep a spotlight on the major changes and high standards needed to deliver a safer parliament.

When the Joint Select Committee responsible for drafting the Code of Conduct invited submissions, Fair Agenda surveyed our members around the country to inform our submission, and key impact focuses. Collectively, Fair Agenda members contributed 36 hours of their time in responding to the survey, calling for a focus on the values of respect and integrity; and meaningful action to address sexual violence in parliament. 

The Fair Agenda team combined these member insights and mandate; with our policy expertise drawn from recent campaigns for accountability and reform in the university sector and beyond, and identified key implementation factors we believed would be critical to achieving meaningful change; and recommended those changes to the committee on behalf of our members.

In response to that submission, the Fair Agenda team were then invited to appear before the Committee, to give testimony and answer follow-up questions regarding our proposals.


We complemented these formal contributions to the process with additional conversations and correspondence with members of the committee, and leaders in the parliament. 

During this process, it became clear that the Committee were debating three particular topics. So, as the Committee closed hearings and begun their deliberation and drafting process; Fair Agenda developed a joint statement setting three criteria for a successful code. Namely: 

  • A prohibition on discrimination that mirrors other workplace discrimination law - to apply a similar standard preventing discrimination on the basis of ability, age, gender, intersex status, race, religion and sexual orientation.
  • An explicit expectation that MPs paid to serve in our parliament act with respect, integrity and a commitment to public service.
  • Application of these standards of conduct to personal conduct when it is relevant to someone’s responsibilities and duties in parliament. 

We were thrilled to see most of Fair Agenda’s advice and recommendations were reflected in the Committee’s final report, with almost a dozen separate references to our recommendations in the committee’s final report.

We’re proud of the role Fair Agenda played in ensuring a strong Code of Conduct was recommended and introduced into the parliament, that addresses the standards of respect and integrity that our movement has been campaigning for.

This is the first of many steps needed to deliver real change in our parliament. We have won this major battle, but there are still gaps we need to address to solve the issues that led us to this moment. 

Namely, to make sure that if allegations, like those made against Christian Porter,  happen again there is a proper and independent process in place to deal with them. There’s also further action needed to ensure that personal conduct relevant to someone’s roles or responsibilities can be investigated and addressed if needed.

Now this Code of Conduct is in place, we expect the parliament will begin the process to establish an Independent Parliamentary Standards Commission.

We're focused on ensuring this is given the strong powers and scope it needs to ensure the integrity and respect standards outlined in the Code are upheld by parliamentarians. 

We know that getting parliamentarians to agree to hold themselves accountable could be a drawn-out fight. Our movement is working to raise resources to support the critical next stage in the fight for safety and accountability in our federal parliament. Fair Agenda is a people-powered movement, and we rely on donations from members like you to deliver our campaigns. Can you support this work so our movement can keep making a difference?

Click here to support the next phase of the fight by starting a monthly donation

Click here to support the immediate next steps with a once-off donation