Outraged politicians say Parliament sex videos further sign of 'disrespect' towards women

The reports of male government staffers performing sex acts inside Parliament have compounded concerns over cultural problems around the treatment of women in politics.

Shadow Minister for Home Affairs Kristina Keneally at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra.

Shadow Minister for Home Affairs Kristina Keneally at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra. Source: AAP

Reports of a male government staffer performing a sex act inside Parliament House have prompted outrage in Canberra, with politicians warning it's further evidence of a culture of disrespect towards women.

A coalition staffer who filmed himself performing a lewd act on the desk of an MP he worked for has been sacked, and the government is investigating others over the swapping of graphic videos filmed inside Parliament.

The reports have compounded concerns over cultural problems in federal politics, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison lashing the behaviour as "shameful" conduct. 

Advertisement


Labor's spokesperson for government accountability Kristina Keneally said the "shocking" reports were further evidence of a culture of disrespect towards women. 

"These lewd, disgusting acts are further evidence of the culture of disrespect of women in this building," she told reporters. 

"It is a culture of disrespect - but it is also a culture of disrespect for any woman who works in this building."

Labor Senator Kristina Keneally addresses the media.
Labor Senator Kristina Keneally addresses the media. Source: Ben Patrick, SBS News


Ten News on Monday night reported a group of Coalition government staffers exchanged pictures and videos among themselves of sex acts performed in Parliament House. 

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said it was up to Mr Morrison to address the cultural problems inside Parliament House.

“Unsupervised boys behaving badly and thinking they can get away with it. It's gross, it's disrespectful, it's degrading to women and it needs to be held to account,” she told reporters.

"He's the prime minister of the country, he's the most powerful man in this building and it's up to him to start cleaning up this toxic culture." 

Mr Morrison later addressed the reports - vowing the unacceptable behaviour would be addressed.

"I am shocked and I am disgusted - It is shameful - it is just absolutely shameful," he said.

"We must get this house in order." 



Finance Minister Simon Birmingham earlier said the reports were being investigated and those involved in the behaviour would be held responsible. 

"Those incidents and activities are sickening, they're disgusting and the government has zero tolerance for anyone who's engaged in such gross disrespect to the parliament and Australians by acting in that way," he told reporters.

"We are making sure we investigate anything we possibly can in relation to the allegations."

Minister for Finance Simon Birmingham at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra.
Minister for Finance Simon Birmingham at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra. Source: AAP


“I feel bad for him about this,” she said.

“But it’s unacceptable behaviour by anyone and it should not happen in workplaces like this.”



Labor's spokesperson for women Tanya Plibersek said those involved in the behaviour must be sacked and removed from the building. 

"I just really have no words - this is a workplace," she said. 

"People who behave in this way do not belong in this workplace and I hope that they will be leaving, sacked, gone."

The reports come after former political staffer Brittany Higgins came forward publicly detailing her allegations of being raped inside Parliament House. 

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins has been tasked with conducting an inquiry into workplace culture in Parliament House.


SHARE
3 min read
Published 23 March 2021 at 12:05pm
By Tom Stayner