Supporting a Parliamentary Independent Complaints Officer

Today Abigail spoke in support of instating a long overdue Parliamentary Complaints Officer, which will need further oversight and scrutiny to ensure complaints are being properly responded to. 

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (15:50): 

Briefly, I indicate that The Greens will also support this motion. This is something that is long overdue and well needed. I am grateful for the work that has gone into this proposal. I know it has not been straightforward at all times. I put on record that The Greens thank not only the chair of the Privileges Committee but also the Clerks and Presiding Officers, who have take an interest in this and done a lot of work to try to perfect it and educate the rest of us about what it means.

I will touch on one aspect of this proposal, which is complaints regarding bullying, harassment and other types of inappropriate behaviour. Clearly this is not the end of the work that is required to make sure that we have a safe working environment for all people in Parliament. I note that the Broderick review work is ongoing. Although this proposed scheme does not purport to address issues of sexual assault and harassment in full, we can also not allow this proposed scheme to somehow be used as an excuse or a go-to response if that Broderick review comes out with a recommendation that we need to do a lot more in relation to sexual assault and harassment in this place. I would hate for it to be used as an example of what Parliament is now doing better that it was not doing before.

Yes, the Parliament will be doing this better. However, when the Broderick review and the special working group on a harassment-free Parliament have concluded their work and made their recommendations, those also need to be taken seriously. This motion is a really good step. It is part of a much broader set of reforms that will be required if we are to address the issues head-on. I am very pleased to see that there is a pretty significant review clause in this motion. I hope the motion is successful, but that within 12 months of the parliamentary independent complaints officer being established we can have the opportunity to review it and to perfect it even more. I thank the House.

 

You can find the full transcript on Hansard, here.

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