Crime & Justice

63 percent of females in Australian parliament faced sexual harassment

Sydney, Australia, Nov 30 (EFE).- Some 63 percent of Australian women parliamentarians have suffered some form of sexual harassment in their workplace, according to a report published Tuesday by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The report, based on interactions with 1,723 people from 33 different organizations, reveals that 33 per cent of the Parliament’s workers suffered at least one incident of sexual harassment, and 51 percent have suffered work harassment, sexual abuse or attempted rape.

The government commissioned the report after former government adviser Brittany Higgins denounced in February that a man working for the Liberal Party raped her in parliamentary offices in March 2019.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, who prepared the report, considered it was “unacceptable” that 51 percent of workers claimed to have experienced these situations, and that 77 percent suffered them, witnessed or heard of them.

“The culture allowed it, encouraged it,” said one of the anonymous respondents, describing how one of the male politicians “thought nothing of, in one case, picking you up, kissing you on the lips, lifting you up, touching you, pats on the bottom, comments about appearance.”

“Such experiences leave a trail of devastation for individuals and their teams and undermine the performance of our Parliament to the nation’s detriment,” said Jenkins, who also revealed that 37 percent of those surveyed suffered workplace harassment.

The report’s author underlined factors such as the lack of behavioral standards, limited liability and power imbalances combined with high-intensity work, the search for power and political advantage and the frequent blurring of the boundary between personal and professional life.

The report also made 28 recommendations, including improved leadership, higher parity, changes in working hours, and a dissolution of the prevalent alcohol culture. EFE


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