Crossbench MPs welcome workplace review

17 Feb 2021

Lower House Crossbench MPs have welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of an independent review into the workplaces of Parliamentarians and their staff “at arm’s length of Government”.

The PM announced the review in a letter to MPs late this afternoon.

Earlier this morning the Crossbench called for an urgent, independent, external review and wrote to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition.

The letter, co-signed by Adam Bandt, Dr Helen Haines, Bob Katter, Rebekha Sharkie, Zali Steggall, and Andrew Wilkie,called for an Independent Review that examined:

  1. The current complaints handling process and associated policies,
  2. The detail of the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 (the Act) that establishes the current employment structure,
  3. Any necessary changes to the Act to improve the overall health, safety and wellbeing of all staff employed under that Act,
  4. The formation of an independent body to oversee future complaints and grievances.

Adam Bandt MP, Leader of the Australian Greens:

"Back in November last year, I asked the Prime Minister to set up a proper complaints framework and I'm glad he has finally listened to the growing calls. This is a step forward, but what is also needed is an independent investigation into how the Prime Minister, his office and the government handled Brittany Higgins' situation, because the government's statements conflict with hers, conflict with the evidence and it looks like a cover up."

Helen Haines MP, Independent for Indi:

“I welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to this review, and acknowledgement that nothing less than a full external review is needed to address the alarming and systemic issues within our Parliament”

Bob Katter MP, Member for Kennedy:

“In spite of whether people are away from home, shoulder to shoulder with staff, I agree with my fellow Crossbenchers that the current culture and system in Parliament means careers will be destroyed completely if you have the temerity to register a complaint of sexual assault. I thought that one of the most reprehensible people in modern public affairs was the United States President Clinton. To use the power of influence and status of your position and use that to take advantage of a 20-year-old intern or staffer, is despicable conduct. That same conduct is happening in Canberra, and this much welcomed review will get to the bottom of this culture and the system that is letting people down.”

Rebekha Sharkie MP, Centre Alliance Member for Mayo:

“I am very grateful that the Prime Minister has taken our letter seriously and has advised that there will be a review conducted at arm’s length of government and across the Parliament. This needed to happen. However, we must ensure that this review is timely and that the findings are implemented as a matter of urgency.”

Zali Steggall MP, Independent for Warringah:

"I welcome the Prime Minister’s acknowledgement that an independent review is necessary. This review should encompass all pass holders of Parliament House, not just Parliamentarians and their staff. It is also important that the review specifically consider the establishment of an independent body to oversee future complaints and grievances of all pass holders.The findings of the external review should be made public to ensure transparency and accountability."

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook