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.
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.
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.”