Parliament House Kate Jenkins report: Most vile incidents revealed

Parliament House Kate Jenkins report: Most vile incidents revealed
Parliament House Kate Jenkins report: Most vile incidents revealed

The words are shocking to those who had no idea what really went on in the most halls of power in Parliament House, Canberra.

'I was sexually harassed multiple times, sexually assaulted, bullied and terrorised,' a witness recalls of her time spent working in Australia's most famous building. 

The statement was part of a damning 456-page report by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins which has revealed to the outside world what those in the parliamentary bubble were already all too aware of - young women were treated like 'fresh meat'. 

The anonymous person, who gave evidence to the inquiry, continued: 'I was told that if I ever sought help or spoke about what happened to me my professional reputation and personal life would be destroyed.'

Scott Morrison (pictured) announced the release of the 456-page report into harassment in Parliament House earlier this week

Scott Morrison (pictured) announced the release of the 456-page report into harassment in Parliament House earlier this week

The report, which included input from 1,723 people, is a shocking indictment of what happens in a workplace where most people would hope the highest of standards - both legal and moral - were maintained.

Young women are seen as a 'challenge', people cry in the toilets rather than be seen to be upset and one third of workers in the building are sexually harassed.

One in four of those who were sexually harassed said it was by a politician.

Another respondent referred to 'Aspiring male politicians who thought nothing of, in one case, picking you up, kissing you on the lips, lifting you up, touching you, pats on the bottom, comments about appearance, you know, the usual … the culture allowed it.'

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins (pictured) has completed a report into problems in commonwealth parliamentary workplaces

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins (pictured) has completed a report into problems in commonwealth parliamentary workplaces

Parliament House (pictured) in Canberra, has been shown to have a very seedy underbelly

Parliament House (pictured) in Canberra, has been shown to have a very seedy underbelly

The words of the victims speak for themselves. But they are anonymous, because despite what it is they are exposing, they still fear that doing so could mean losing their job or damage their future employment prospects.

Close to the start of the report, one participant says 'This is for the most part, a bunch of people who work extraordinarily hard… 

'And the reason that they do it, is because they want to make the country a better place and because they truly believe that they can make a difference.' 

These are noble words and aims, but almost everything that follows focusses on the very dark side of what happens inside Parliament House. 

Parliament House (pictured) is expected by most people to hold the highest standards of employment. A shocking new report shows that it doesn't

Parliament House (pictured) is expected by most people to hold the highest standards of employment. A shocking new report shows that it doesn't

Staffers walk into the building starstruck and in awe at what they have achieved in their life to have secured a job there. One said: 'The very first time I walked in there ... we got into the Member’s Hall and ... it was like ... I work in Parliament House...

'I actually teared up … It was just a pride to be able to work there because to me, that’s the ultimate place of public service.'

But it was a very different story when the same person left. 'And can I tell you, when I left there … I would never, ever set foot in the place again.' 

The empty chamber of the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra. Staffers have revealed shocking stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the building

The empty chamber of the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra. Staffers have revealed shocking stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the building

Some of the statements are heartbreaking because they show how accustomed staff became to what was happening around them. 

'I thought it was normal to tell people that they should avoid certain people at events,' one said. 'I thought it was normal to tell people how to take alcohol to remain safe. 

'Now that I look back on it, that is insane. And there is still a whole generation of people that work in politics that think that is normal, because they’re the ones who set those expectations.' 

Another said Parliament House is 'the most sexist place I’ve worked ... there is a workplace culture of drinking'. 

'The boys are lads. And that behaviour is celebrated and … they do treat women, our female staffers and female admin staff, quite differently. Young women, particularly media advisers coming in, particularly the younger women coming in were like fresh meat and challenges.'  

Members of the public wear face masks as they visit Parliament House in Canberra. They almost certainly had no idea of the extent of sexual harassment and assault in the building

Members of the public wear face masks as they

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