Courage of Review participants is inspiring

Kate Jenkins

Opinion

The Sydney Morning Herald

“And you said it would never happen!” This was the text I received following the announcement that the Australian Human Rights Commission would conduct an independent review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces.

The author of the text had previously told me there was a clear need for an independent cultural review of the Australian Parliament.

I agreed but wasn’t confident there was the appetite for independent scrutiny of Australia’s most high-profile workplace. I’m glad I was wrong.

When we opened for submissions and interviews in May, I will admit that I was nervous about what sort of response we would receive. I know from my work in Defence, police, sport and universities that it is difficult for people to share their stories of bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault. It is especially difficult when they fear that their job may be at risk or there may be other repercussions. The inherently political nature of parliamentary workplaces provides its own disincentives.

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