If passed, the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Prohibiting All Sexual Harassment) Bill 2021 would essentially fill a gap in the law to ensure that judges and MPs would be both held liable for sexual harassment and protected from it. According to independent MP Zali Steggall, it would also restore confidence in these institutions.
In delivering this legislation to Parliament, Ms Steggall said the government did not take the opportunity to present it themselves, adding that if they failed to adopt this amendment, they “are endorsing sexual harassment in our workplace” and are supportive of the message that MPs are held above others when it comes to the law.
“The allegations we have heard this year from [Brittany] Higgins and others of the harassment and even assault here in Parliament House reinforces the need for a change to the legislation,” she said. “Creating legislation to make sure that MPs and judges are held to the same standard as others in the workplace is important.”