Revelations of sexual harassment, misogyny, bullying and even criminal behaviour between and among parliamentarians and political staff have rocked Australia and sparked mass protests across the nation. While Australian parliaments were early adopters of some practices to ensure parliament was a more gender-equal workplace, in other areas they lag behind the rest of the world.
It is time for Australia to once again take the lead.
Making parliament house a safe place for women to work is essential to creating a gender-equal parliament, as well as ensuring our parliament serves as an example of best practice for other Australian workplaces and parliaments around the globe.
The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership together with the Australian Political Studies Association brought together national and international experts to develop a model code of conduct for the Parliament of Australia.
Over two days from 15-16 July 2021, leading academics, politicians and political staffers came together at the Australian National University to reflect on new research on gendered norms and practices in parliamentary institutions, look at international best practice and consider how it can be applied or adapted for the Australian context.
The workshop combined the latest research with the experiences of those working in parliament house to develop a code of conduct that is highly practical and can make Australia a leader in gender equity once more.
The model code of conduct has been submitted to the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces led by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins.
A copy of the full submission from the Australian Political Studies Association and the Global Institute for Women's Leadership can be found here.
Recordings of the workshop are available on our youtube channel here.
The current issue of Australasian Parliamentary Review also includes an article by conference organiser and Emeritus Professor Marian Sawer on toxic parliaments and what parliaments in Canada, New Zealand and the UK are doing to deal with bullying and sexual harassment.The next issue of the journal will be a special issue flowing from this workshop.
This workshop was a joint initiative of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership and the Australian Political Studies Association.