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Parliament culture won't change without independent inquiry

Media Release
Adam Bandt 16 Feb 2021

The Australian Greens have slammed the Prime Minister’s continued failures to address a toxic parliamentary culture today, calling for an independent inquiry into the failures in responding to Brittany Higgins’ alleged rape.

Greens Leader Adam Bandt also said that it was an issue with men’s behaviour that men needed to solve, and that the PM’s own words underscored his lack of understanding of the problem at hand.

Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP said:

“You shouldn't need to consult your wife or have daughters to know that women who have been raped should be listened to, believed & supported.”

“Women aren't "finding themselves in vulnerable situations", Prime Minister. Men are putting them there.

“Rape and sexual assault is a problem that men need to solve, but the Prime Minister hardly spoke about men at all. 

“The ‘boy’s club’ culture means many men feel able to sexually assault women without fear of consequence, allegedly even here in one of the country’s most secure buildings.

“It’s time the PM started getting men to change the way they act and respect women.”

Greens Leader in the Senate and spokesperson for democracy, Senator Larissa Waters, said:

“The Prime Minister has been missing in action for years on acknowledging that cultural change is necessary to keep women safe in parliament, and that his party has a problem with women.

“There've been three young Liberal staffers sexually assaulted who have come forward so far, and no doubt many others who are yet to speak out.

“Brittany Higgins’ case is deja vu of the worst kind.

“The Prime Minister’s decision to charge his own Department with reviewing Brittany’s case, and the broader complaints process, puts the fox in charge of the henhouse.

“With two senior staff from the Prime Minister’s office up to their necks in the cover-up of Brittany Higgins alleged rape, including the PMs ‘fixer’, the PMO is part of the problem.

“Ordering two internal reviews does not give anyone confidence that real change will flow, it’s a continuation of the culture of cover-up that has seen this issue fester and more women assaulted. 

“We need an independent review of how the existing complaints process let Brittany down. And a broader review of the toxic culture at APH with recommendations for reform to ensure the women that work here are safe.

“The Greens called for an independent investigation into the culture in Parliament many months ago, and yesterday called for the Sex Discrimination Commissioner to do that review.

“The Prime Minister should pick up the phone to both Ms Higgins and to our Sex Discrimination Commissioner to have an independent, qualified body do the job.”

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