GIWL ANU, 15 July 2021
Revelations of sexual harassment, misogyny, bullying and even criminal behaviour between and among parliamentarians and political staff have rocked Australia and sparked mass protests across the nation. While Australian parliaments were early adopters of some practices to ensure parliament was a more gender-equal workplace, in other areas they lag behind the rest of the world.
It is time for Australia to once again take the lead.
Making Parliament House a safe place for women to work is essential to creating a gender-equal parliament, as well as ensuring our parliament serves as an example of best practice for other Australian workplaces and parliaments around the globe.
In July 2021, the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership ANU together with the Australian Political Studies Association brought together national and international experts to develop a model code of conduct for the Parliament of Australia. Speakers included Liberal former-cabinet minister Sharman Stone, ACT Liberal leader Elizabeth Lee, Labor MP Anne Aly, Greens senator Larissa Waters and Independent MP Helen Haines, along with political staffers and academic experts.
The workshop reflected on and analysed research on gendered norms and practices in Australia and internationally to develop a code of conduct to help stamp out sexual violence in Parliament House.
The model code of conduct was formally submitted to the Independent Inquiry into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces led by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins.