Australian parliament: 1 in 3 experience sexual harassment, report finds

A report commissioned by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison found that one in three people working inside the Australian parliament have experienced sexual harassment.

The report published on Tuesday detailed the findings of an independent inquiry into parliamentary workplace culture.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison had ordered the report in February following criticism of his party’s handling of an alleged rape inside the building.

The accusations brought forward by Brittany Higgins, 26, sparked outrage across the country.

This led to tens of thousands of people marching against a culture of sexism and misogyny in Australian politics and triggered the investigation.

Morrison called the findings “appalling” and “disturbing” but added, “I wish I found them more surprising”.

1,723 individuals and 33 organisations took part in the widespread investigation into improper behaviour.

More than half of respondents (51%) reported they had experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment, bullying or actual or attempted sexual assault.

It also found one in three people working in parliament had experienced some form of sexual harassment.

One person shared in the report that an MP had “grabbed” them and “stuck his tongue down” their throat while others laughed.

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“Such experiences leave a trail of devastation for individuals and their teams and undermine the performance of our parliament to the nation’s detriment,” the report said.

28 recommendations were made based on the findings, including greater gender balance among both lawmakers and their staff, new alcohol policies and the creation of a new human resources office to deal with complaints.

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