There is a greater sense of male entitlement in Australia’s parliament than in any workplace I have seen | Clare O’Neil

There is a greater sense of male entitlement in Australia’s parliament than in any workplace I have seen | Clare O’Neil

The Guardian

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I have not heard a single instance of genuine self-reflection about what our senior national leaders have done to create this culture

Like many women who work in parliament, the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins has absolutely rocked me. Since last Monday, I have found myself in various states of rage and disbelief, at times choking with anger at how a system could treat an alleged rape victim with such brutal inhumanity.

But when I look back at the time I have been in parliament, there is a pattern of events. Julia Banks claimed she was bullied and harassed, until she left her own party, then the parliament. Emma Husar was accused of inappropriate, sexualised behaviour that turned out to be untrue – but not before she too announced she would resign. Three Liberal staffers claimed to have been sexually harassed, yet they left the parliament, while the male perpetrators of the alleged crimes remain unaccountable. Allegations of sexist and offensive actions of the attorney general and industrial relations minister, Christian Porter, some of which he has rejected, were aired on Four Corners with no accountability to follow. An electorate officer of Craig Kelly has allegedly forced office interns to hug and kiss him. He has previously told the Guardian that he would not respond to these allegations given the matters are before courts, and remains today in Kelly’s employment.

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