Today’s target of stern disapproval is a piece of legislation that performs no function other than enabling Ministers to hire staff.
The emerging facts as we know them:
Yet another Liberal Party staffer has alleged she was sexually assaulted by a parliamentary colleague, this time in Parliament House.
Yeah, that’s bad. It’s only 18 months since a similar alleged incident occurred in the offices of the same political party.
To be fair to Jenna Hates, she nearly continues along a non-partisan route of argument as if she might be interested in seeking truth:
Is the Liberal Party the worst workplace in the world? Is Labor any better? Can women only speak out after they leave?
That’s the second last time we hear about Jenna Hates’ side of the aisle though.
At the beginning of 2020, the Liberal Party released its National Code of Conduct, which insists any victim of criminal conduct should report the complaint to the police and parliamentary staffers should refer the matter to Parliament or government departments. Labor is in the final stages of updating its code of conduct and harassment policies and procedures. In its draft form, it at least says it will support the victim through the complaints process.
So, in summary; the code of conduct says “if the law is broken, tell the police“. Labor’s forthcoming version may add the coda, “and we will support you“. Lovely.
Jenna Hates seems to have also spotted a reversal of William Wilberforce’s famous campaign success:
Parliamentary staffers are the Uber drivers of the political process – they have no rights at work. They are hired and fired at the whim of the member of Parliament, under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act (MOPS).
The staff have no rights at work?
What is this legislation that makes indentured labourers out of political staffers? Has anyone informed the UN or the International Court of Justice in The Hague?
This is the act of parliament she’s referring to. It may be worth a few moments of your time reading it (which would be more effort than Jenna Hates bothered to invest). The spoiler is, there’s nothing in the legislation giving immunity of prosecution for criminal acts nor overturning existing workers’ rights. It’s basically a vehicle allowing Ministers to use public funds to employ staff. That’s it.
Sadly, the premise Jenna Hates has wasted a column to assert is simply not true; the staff have all the protections any other junior employee has in the workplace.
The problem Jenna Hates has missed is these simply aren’t effective when very junior staff with huge ambitions are put in an environment with more senior staff with bad intentions and these two elements are mixed with alcohol. Taxpayer funded free alcohol too.
What has been alleged to have happened is simply what is always a risk in every workplace across the country when the edges are blurred between professional life and social life.
If Jenna Hates could think in a non-partisan way for just five minutes she would realise the alleged rapes and sexual assaults are not a problem unique to one political party, one parliament, one city or even just one country.
This is a uniquely human problem which can be reduced but is unlikely to ever be completely avoided.
If she were serious about preventing rape in the Federal Parliament, she’d write a column calling for an end to taxpayer funded parliamentary piss ups rather than trying to suggest the staff in Canberra are plantation workers being abused by the slave owners.
Then at least she wouldn’t be guilty of knowingly funding a rape culture with her taxes if that change were then to occur.*
* That’s a joke, I don’t really think she’s funding rapes, I’m just playing by her idiotic debating rules.