Sexual harassment case inside Australian parliament, report finds

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who ordered the review in February after coming under pressure from his party to deal with an alleged rape inside the building, said the findings were “horrifying” and “disturbing”.

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

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

Morrison said Parliament should clean up its act.

“Like anyone who has worked in this building, I certainly find the figures presented here frightening and disturbing,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“I wish I found them more amazing.”

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

The report made 28 recommendations, including greater gender balance between 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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