MPs and judges would be held liable for sexual harassment in the workplace based on a “critically important” proposal from an independent politician.
Warringah MP Zali Steggall presented a bill to the Bundestag on Monday to amend national laws against sexual harassment to ensure that it covers all workplaces.
“It’s confusing that these changes have not yet been implemented,” she said.
Ms. Steggall said she contacted the Morrison government to offer them the bill so they could introduce it to no avail.
“If you don’t accept this amendment, you are in favor of sexual harassment in our workplace,” she said.
“They say MPs should not be held to the same standard as others. The people of Australia run out of words. They want action, they have been on the to-do list for too long.”
The bill would fill a loophole in the law to ensure that judges and MPs are not only liable for sexual harassment, but are protected from it.
The change also affects new forms of work such as employees in the gig economy.
The law was supported in parliament by another independent MP, Indis Helen Haines.
“How long will it be before the government realizes that such bills are not political show ponies or dog whistles?” Said Dr. Haines.
“That such bills are real, urgent, evidence-based reforms that would make our jobs safer. These bills would restore the respect and trust Australians have lost in this government and institution.”
Dr. Haines said it was “pretty appalling” that the government had introduced only three out of 55 changes recommended by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins in her Respect @ Work report.
Ms. Jenkins will give a look back at Parliament’s culture after a former Liberal worker said she was raped by a colleague in the building in 2019.
Attorney General Christian Porter is also on vacation as he denies allegations that he raped a woman in 1988 when the couple were teenagers.