Report shows sexual harassment rife in Australian parliament

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who ordered the review in February after his party came under pressure over the handling an alleged rape inside the building, said the findings were “appalling” and “disturbing.”

The review detailed widespread inappropriate behavior and found that more than half of respondents had experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment, bullying, or actual or attempted sexual assault.

“Such experiences leave a devastating trail for individuals and their groups and undermine the effectiveness of our congress and to the detriment of the nation,” the report said.

Morrison says parliament must clean up its act.

“Like anyone working in this building, I find the statistics presented here startling and disturbing of course,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“I wish I found them more surprising.”

Morrison is under pressure to address parliamentary culture ahead of an election in the first half of next year. Support for his conservative coalition government has dropped following the rape allegations, while thousands of women have marched across the country calling for greater equality.

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


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