MPS: Commit to 'set the standard' for a safer parliament

One in three people currently working in or around federal parliament have suffered from some form of sexual harassment. Women are most at risk. These are the findings outlined in the Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s ‘Set The Standard’ Report. The rates and examples of behaviour it reveals are horrifying and unacceptable. It is clear that Parliament is not a safe place for women, and many other members of our community.

In delivering the report, the Commissioner made 28 recommendations for change, and made clear that driving change will require leadership, accountability and a focus on safety and wellbeing, including proactive policies to prevent abuse before it starts. These are essential qualities for our parliament.

The Commissioner provided a roadmap of immediate actions that must be undertaken to progress this within the next 6 months. So far, none have been actioned. Given we expect an election within this time period, we urge the government to take these actions to ensure meaningful progress before the election is called.

Read the full letter (click to view) 

We strongly support the Commissioner recommendation to develop a code of conduct for parliamentarians within 6 months, and codes adopted within a year. 

We urge support for a strong code of conduct enforced by an Independent Commissioner - that reflects community expectations that MPs should act in the public interest and with integrity in all they do, including behaving respectfully within the halls of parliament, and outside its walls. Doctors, teachers and public servants all have to comply with codes of conduct - and are held to a high standard because of the important roles they play in our society. Our politicians should be too. 

Every parliamentarian needs to be fully committed to making parliament safe and respectful, through advocacy in party rooms and votes to enact many of these changes.

As a movement fighting for a future in which our gender does not determine our worth, Fair Agenda is calling for commitment to implementing the 28 recommendations in full ahead of the rapidly approaching election.


Dear Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Senators and Members of Parliament, 

I am deeply concerned about the findings in the report from Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins - that 1 in 3 people have suffered some form of sexual harassment, with women most at risk. 

As a Fair Agenda member, I am committed to fight for gender equity - starting at the top. We urgently need laws and policies that protect the people in parliament, and the integrity of our democracy.

We strongly urge you to implement the report recommendations in full.


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