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Government must act swiftly on Jenkins recommendations

Media Release
Larissa Waters 30 Nov 2021

The Greens have warned the government that Australian women expected them to swiftly and fully implement the recommendations of the Jenkins review, after the much-anticipated report into parliamentary workplace culture was tabled today.

The review, triggered after Brittany Higgins came forward with allegations that she had been raped in a minister’s office, makes 28 recommendations, including:

  • establishing an Independent Parliamentary Standards Commission to make findings about misconduct and apply sanctions for a breach of the Code of Conduct for parliamentarians
  • establishing a Joint Standing Committee to oversee standards and accountability, including developing Codes of Conduct for parliamentarians and parliamentary staff
  • mandatory annual training for parliamentarians and staff on respectful workplace behaviour and relevant Codes of Conduct
  • a 10-year strategy to achieve gender balance and increase the representation of First Nations people, people from CALD backgrounds, people with disability, and LGBTIQ+ people among parliamentarians and parliamentary staff

Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on women Senator Larissa Waters said:

“The Government must today commit to implementing all 28 recommendations of the Jenkins report.

"The Set the Standard report is a vitally important document that not only reveals just how dangerous parliamentary workplaces have been for so long, but also maps out a path to ensuring the safety of all parliamentary staff and MPs.

“The report reveals that 51% of people working in parliamentary workplaces have experienced at least one incident of bullying, sexual harassment or actual or attempted sexual assault. That is simply unacceptable.

“The Greens have long called for a code of conduct for all parliamentarians, mandatory harassment training and more diverse representation in parliament, and we’re happy to see that these are key recommendations of the Jenkins report.

“I want to thank everyone who made a submission to the report and for the incredible work of Kate Jenkins and her team. And I particularly want to credit the bravery and advocacy of Brittany Higgins, Rachelle Miller, Dhanya Mani and Chelsey Potter, and the work done by the fabulous women of the Press Gallery, without which this inquiry would not have happened.

“Now it’s up to the government to deliver, but given the PM’s track record on women’s safety Australian women have reason to be suspicious about their intentions to follow through.

“The PM says he ‘wishes’ he was more surprised that one-third of people working in parliamentary workplaces had reported some kind of sexual harassment. Why then has he perpetuated this toxic culture and not done something about this problem years ago?

“He sat on the Respect@Work report for 18 months, responding only when he was in damage control after Brittany Higgins’ brave stand, the rape allegations against Christian Porter and the massive March4Justice rallies.

“Then they squibbed the Respect@Work legislation, omitting one of the key recommendations to create a positive duty on employers to ensure a safe workplace, and rejecting Greens and Labor amendments to introduce that and paid domestic violence leave.

“This is a PM who runs a protection racket for his boys’ club, keeping an alleged rapist in his Cabinet and refusing to even initiate an inquiry, and giving little more than a slap on the wrist to a backbencher accused of harassing and stalking women in his electorate.

“And just last week we’ve seen the PM bully a female member of his own government for daring to cross the floor and support a federal integrity body.

“Women deserve to be safe, at home, at work and in public. If the PM believed that, it’s long past time that he demonstrated it.” 

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