WEL calls for leaders to make Australia’s Parliament a safe place to work by implementing all 28 recommendations of the Jenkins Report. 


Kate Jenkins’ Report, released today, shows that Australia’s Parliament is a dangerous place for people to work, especially for women. No wonder women in Australia hesitate to enter politics.

This is the antithesis of a democratic and inclusive culture. It is a destructive culture festering at the heart of our democracy.

It took Brittney Higgins, and this comprehensive inquiry undertaken by Kate Jenkins the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, to expose this culture and its workplace dynamics to the public. It is a “win at all costs” culture where complaining has repercussions for careers.

The testimonies of 1700 contributors tell a story of intimidation and fear, lack of accountability, entitlement and exclusion cutting careers and dashing hopes. The trauma has put lives on hold and crushing ambition and idealism.  

The Set the Standard report shows that women in Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces (CPW’s) experienced sexual harassment at a higher rate (40%) compared with men (26%).

They have experienced bullying at a higher rate (42%), compared with men (32%).

Women experienced both bullying and sexual harassment at a higher rate (24%) compared with men (14%), with actual or attempted sexual assault also typically experienced by women.

More female parliamentarians (63%) have experienced sexual harassment, compared with male parliamentarians (24%) and the national average for women (39%).

People who identify as LGBTIQ+ experienced sexual harassment at a higher rate (53%) than people who identify as heterosexual (31%) or who preferred not to say (29%)

“The Prime Minister missed the opportunity to show the leadership it calls for, preferring to deflect responsibility for its shocking findings to the Parliament as a whole. This leadership deficit contributes to the problem,” commented Jozefa Sobski WEL National Convenor. “Instead the implementation process has been delegated to a joint Government Opposition process. This should not be allowed to delay action,” said Ms Sobski.

Kate Jenkins has stated that the Report recommendations should not be ‘cherry picked.

WEL expects that the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and all parties and MP’s will commit to implementing the Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s 28 recommendations.

Read the Executive Summary for the Report hereRead the Full report here.

Download this WEL Media Statement HERE