Brittany Higgins: The onus is on the government to show leadership & act

Brittany Higgins: The onus is on the government to show leadership & act

Brittany Higgins

Following her recent meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Brittany Higgins has called on the federal government to “show leadership and act”.

In a post to Twitter on Monday evening, Higgins wrote that the culture of silence in Parliament House has allowed inappropriate conduct to go unchecked, and the onus was on the Prime Minister to deliver meaningful reform and cultural change.

“Recently I met with @ScottMorrisonMP, @AlboMP and @tanya_plibersek to speak plainly about the systemic issues in Parliament House,” Higgins wrote on Twitter.

“For too long the culture of silence has allowed workplace bullying, harassment, and other inappropriate conduct to go unchecked.

“Big thank-you to the women who stood by my side to lend their expertise and offer support on the day. I’m so grateful to you all. Cultural change is only achieved when we stand up and say ‘enough is enough’.

“The onus is now on the Govt to show leadership and act.”

Higgins, a former Liberal Party staffer who was allegedly raped inside Parliament House in a minister’s office in 2019, has been pushing for reform to improve the wellbeing and safety of those who work in parliament.

Last week, she met with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to have what she described as a “difficult” conversation at a personal level. She said she discussed the need for a new, independent mechanism to protect political staffers who work in parliament, and changes to the Members of Parliament (Staff) or MoPS Act.

At the time, Higgins said the Prime Minister “acknowledged that the system had let me down”.

Jessica Rudd, the daughter of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, said she “can’t imagine what it must take to have that conversation, about something so personal, in pursuit of better outcomes for others. Strength and grace.”

After her meeting with Morrison, Higgins said: “I think there was a consensus that reform needs to happen. I am hopeful that it will. And he is going to do the right thing by women here.”

“I think we can have a divergence of opinion, but fundamentally, I think there was the consensus for reform, and that was encouraging and that was necessary.”

Morrison said in a statement that he was “committed to achieving an independent process to deal with these difficult issues” and that he was glad to meet Higgins and “listen to her views on how we can make parliamentary workplaces safe and more respectful.”

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