Staff sign bullying letter
Political staffers and public servants have come together to demand a confidential bullying complaints process.
An open letter from union members across Parliament House says there have been some deeply disturbing revelations in the past month, including an allegation of rape in Parliament House, and reports of political staffers perorming lewd acts and taking and sharing explicit images of them.
The letter was signed by staff from a range of departments, including the Department of Parliamentary Services, Department of the House of Representatives, the Department of the Senate, the Department of Finance and the Parliamentary Budget Office.
It contains five demands, including a call for a victim-centric complaints process “that ensures there are consequences for poor behaviour”.
It also seeks new measures to mitigate gendered violence and sexual harassment in the enterprise agreement for political staffers currently.
A clause requiring the government to protect staff from sexual harassment and bullying was rejected as part of the negotiations last year.
The letter also calls for appropriate and specialised support services for all parliamentary staff. The signatories want immediate implementation of the 55 recommendations of the Respect@Work report by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins.
“It is incumbent on the government, all political parties, parliamentarians, parliamentary departments, and APS agencies to act now in the interests of workers in Parliament House,” the letter states.
“Respect and safety at work are non-negotiable. Our members across all departments that work in parliament have had enough, and they are demanding action for a safe workplace,” CPSU National Secretary Melissa Donnelly said.
“The Morrison Government has been dragged to the realisation that the workplace culture in Parliament House is toxic and dangerous, especially to women.
“These demands if met would provide clear and confidential reporting lines, consequences for actions, training, support and obligations to mitigate risk.”
If this article causes distress, help is available via the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline 131 114, or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636. For help in a crisis call 000.