Australian Parliament Is Apparently Rife with Sexual Misconduct and Abuse

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Photo: Sam Mooy (Getty Images)

A whistleblower has exposed members of Australian parliament and other government employees as sex pests who have been masturbating and having sex in Parliament House.

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On Monday, the whistleblower leaked a video of a senior government staff member masturbating onto a woman lawmaker’s desk to two Australian outlets. A Channel Ten broadcast reported that this video was just one of many images and recordings of sex acts a group of men government staffers have circulated among themselves for two years. The whistleblower said he’d been forwarded so many such video clips that he’d “become immune” to them.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the unnamed staff member who recorded himself masturbating had been terminated. But this man’s behavior is clearly evidence of a much deeper problem in Australian Parliament—and the world!—considering that his firing arrives amid a slew of other sexual misconduct and assault allegations.

It is just absolutely shameful,” Morrison said on Monday (Tuesday afternoon for Australia). “I was completely stumped, as I have been on more than one occasion over the course of this last month.”

In February, a 26-year-old woman named Brittany Higgins came forward with allegations that she was raped two years ago in Australia’s Parliament building by a former Liberal Party employee. She said the assault occurred after drinks with the man in March 2019, in the office of a former defense industry minister. Higgins, a government employee herself at the time, said she tried reporting the alleged rape to police, but she dropped the case out of fear of losing her job.

“Most cases of this nature don’t end up in a conviction,” Higgins told the New York Times in February. “I’m speaking my truth, and I know it’s the right thing to do.”

After Higgins went public with her allegations, three other women did too, alleging sexual assault against the same man. The women shared similar accounts of being violated by the man after drinks: One woman alleged that her assailant offered to “look after” her in his hotel room after buying her several shots earlier that evening. She awoke to the man lying on top of her; she was half-dressed.

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Morrison had ordered an internal investigation into Higgins’s accusations last month, but it has since been paused following concerns that it could interfere with federal authorities’ investigation. The probe had also been criticized by some sexual assault survivor advocates who consider it little more than a temporary fix—if that—for a much deeper issue.

“Brittany Higgins is giving us an opportunity here to actually fix something,” Labor MP Clare O’Neil told the Times last month. “This is a nation’s Parliament. We should be setting the standard, not the floor.”

DISCUSSION

By
IAMRU2

There’s a lot missing from this piece, honestly, and it’s worse than you’d think.

To give some context - this actually started in November last year when a public news station reported on the culture of Canberra politicians behaving inappropriately with female staffers (https://www.abc.net.au/4corners/inside-the-canberra-bubble/12864676). This didn’t cause a huge ripple in the public conciousness, although it did result in the current conservstov government attempting to prevent the program from airing and it led to the end of one politician’s marriage (Christian Porter, the Attorney General).

Earlier this year, Brittany Higgins went public with her experience of sexual assault while working as a staffer. Her story was horrific and heart breaking, but more than that, it pointed to an attempt at covering up a credible account of rape. The government’s response was to attack her, her credibility and deny there was any inappropriate response. The Minister she used to work for called her a “lying cow”. One of the reasons Brittany has been hesitant in complaining is that all reports relating to it go through the office of the Minister for Home Affairs...which is Peter Dutton, a man who described deporting vulnerable and medically dependent non citizens as “taking out the trash”. The government has insisted that there is an ongoing criminal investigation, and that their own internal review will absolve them of any wrongdoing, but the Australian Federal Police have denied the claims and the government’s so called independent investigation is on pause at the request of the Prime Minister.

While politicians, the media and the public tried to work out how to approach this difficult issue, rumours began to circulate that a senior Minister had been accused of raping a woman, when both were teenagers. The rumours, mostly discussed on Twitter, grew and were reported on by the same credible journalist who has broken the initial story regarding sexual assaults by politicians. The name of the politician was suppressed, but it brought into question serious questions about the conduct and suitability of almost the entire government (notably only one male senior male politician was except from the rumours on account of his age). Eventually, Christian Porter admitted thathe was the accused rapist - the women he had allegedly raped tragically took her own life a few years ago, and Porter took every opportunity to attack the credibility of a victim who could not refute him. Thankfully her friends have been articulate and clear in exposing his lies. He has subsequently decided to sue the journalist, Louise Mulligan, for defamation, and is on full paid leave for “mental health”.

The Prime Minister was deservedly mocked for apparently needing his wife to remind him that he has daughters before he could summon any outrage or empathy for any of the women so far abused.

Furious at the callous indifference and sexist treatment of women by our government, women marched throughout Australia on 15 March. Almost 100,000 women hit the streets and met at Parliament House, demanding change. The Prime Minister declined to meet with the protestors, and has since been caught lying that it was due to security concerns.

Yesterday, videos and messages were released that showed, among other things, a man masturbsting onto a female politician’s desk, people engaging in various sex acts, and messages of a highly inappropriate and misogynistic nature. Of note, the dedicated meditation and prayer room was apparently used almost exclusively for sex. A previous Minister also apparently hired and brought in male prostitutes for his enjoyment at his offices. There are rumours that these were released by a friend of Christian Porter attempting to draw attention from his current predicament.

The Prime Minister is now attempting to reclaim the media narrative by insisting that he has listened to women, and that he wants to change the culture of our political system and institution. This is rather undermined by his demand that women need to stand up more, and his threats to journalists that unfavourable coverage would force him to raise sexual harassment claims against media companies as retaliation, which is incredibly sickening and definitely won’t have a chilling affect on women reporting abuse...