The Greens have welcomed the parliament’s acknowledgement of the abuse and harassment experienced by staff in parliamentary workplaces, but have warned that words alone will not satisfy Australian women.
The Greens continue to urge the government to implement all 28 recommendations of the Set the Standard report, in addition to the remaining Respect@Work recommendations, particularly fully funding working women’s centres and the centrepiece reform of legislating a positive duty on employers.
Lines attributable to Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on women Senator Larissa Waters:
“The patience of Australian women has been sorely tested by this government.
“It’s been nearly 12 months since Brittany Higgins bravely came forward – and much longer still since we first learned of the terrible experiences of Rachelle Miller, Chelsey Potter and many others.
“Today’s acknowledgement to survivors of abuse, harassment and bullying is a worthy first step, but it does nothing to make parliamentary workplaces safer now and into the future. I also note that today’s statement did not acknowledge that for First Nations people, people of colour and people with disability, harassment and disrespect can be even worse.
“The government must now implement all 28 Set the Standard recommendations, and the Greens will be pushing them to get on with the job.
“The government must also finish implementing Respect@Work. It’s been more than two years since Kate Jenkins submitted her landmark report to the government and they still haven’t committed to its central reform, a positive duty on employers to ensure a safe workplace, or provided guaranteed funding to working women’s centres.
“The PM has a terrible track record on women’s safety and respect. He kept an alleged rapist in his Cabinet and refused to even initiate an inquiry, and gave little more than a slap on the wrist to a backbencher accused of harassing and stalking women in his electorate.
“And we have learned overnight that many survivors of abuse and harassment in parliament, including Brittany Higgins, weren’t even invited to attend today’s acknowledgement.
“Everyone deserves to be free from harassment, bullying and sexual assault, no matter who they are or where work. The government needs to stop running from its responsibilities and make it happen.”