The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Trevor Mallard, has announced that an independent external review will take place into bullying and harassment of staff within the Parliamentary workplace.
The review will be carried out by Debbie Francis and begin in early December. it is expected to take at least four months to complete.
It will look to:
- Establish whether bullying and harassment (including sexual harassment) has occurred and, if it has, the nature and extent of this towards staff employed or engaged since the 51st Parliament (since October 2014). This includes contract staff, who regularly work on precinct, and former staff who no longer work in the Parliamentary workplace.
- Review how previous complaints have been handled; whether policies, procedures, and related controls are effective; how they compare to best practice and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015; and whether there are any barriers to reporting or making complaints
- Assess the culture of Parliament as a place to work and allow for consideration of other matters brought up in the review.
A draft report, with findings and recommendations, will be presented to the Speaker and the Chief Executive or General Manager of participating Parliamentary agencies. Following the delivery of the report, the agencies will consider how to action the report's recommendations.
Mr Mallard says the report will be made public "at an appropriate time".
The review will provide current and former Parliamentary staff with an opportunity to share any relevant experiences of bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, within the Parliamentary workplace. The review covers people employed or engaged by the Parliamentary Service, Ministerial and Secretariat Services, and the Office of the Clerk since the 51st Parliament.