Female Labor staffers expose sex ‘secrets’

 

Furious female Labor staffers have warned MPs and male staffers accused of sexually harassing them at Parliament House that they will "no longer keep their secrets".

On the eve of mass marches around Australia to demand "justice" over rape, sexual harassment and toxic workplaces, their angry call has also been backed by former Labor leader Jenny Macklin who has told the women that the anonymous allegations they have raised are unacceptable and cannot continue within the ALP.

The women have outlined shocking allegations - including sex without proper consent with intoxicated women, power imbalances and forced kisses - in a private Facebook group for current and former Labor staffers.

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Former Labor leader Jenny Macklin said the anonymous allegations they have raised are unacceptable and cannot continue within the ALP. Picture: James Ross/AAP
Former Labor leader Jenny Macklin said the anonymous allegations they have raised are unacceptable and cannot continue within the ALP. Picture: James Ross/AAP

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"I truly believe by speaking up we can change this toxic culture,'' one woman wrote.

"These men need to know that we will no longer keep their secrets. Enough is enough.

"Some women have already shared their experiences with me and I have added my own to start off what I hope is a discussion that makes you feel loved, valued, seen and heard."

The behaviour of Labor men outlined in the posts by various women include:

• He is a man who punches the wall next to his female staffer's head calling her a "f***ing c**t" when she passes on news he doesn't want to hear.

• He is a man who calls his female colleague a "pig dog" when she disagrees with him and says in front of her staff "that's why no one wants to f**k you".

• He is a man who says he'd "never f**k a woman without a thigh gap" and asks if I'll show him mine while we sit waiting for a meeting I'm about to run to start in a room full of young men.

• He is a married man who plied a young woman with drinks until she had no idea what was happening. He promised others at the gathering he would get her home safely but before putting her in the cab he had sex with her when she had no ability to consent.

• The next day he texted to demand she take the morning after pill and blamed her for what happened saying she was so drunk that she came onto him. He threatened "tell no one".

• He is a married man who harasses a female staffer by sending her over 50 text messages in a night asking her to meet him, to have sex with him and when he hears nothing back sends aggressive texts warning her not to tell anyone he's contacted her.

• He is a married man who propositions a senior female staffer in his parliamentary office in front of her younger staff.

• He is a man who knows you're a lesbian but thinks you'll make an exception for him.

• He is a man who begs "Please don't tell my wife. It won't happen again." It does.

• He is a man who spent years telling me I was special, intelligent, going places, and that he was so disgusted by the actions of some of the men in the party who had taken advantage of their power over women. He got me to trust him, believe he had my best interests at heart, and then took advantage of me after a night of drinking - knowing how unfair the power imbalance was.

• The next morning he convinced himself he had done nothing wrong by saying, "I didn't do anything wrong right? We're all good? You're an attractive woman and the world is always going to treat you like that."

• He is a senior cabinet minister who, after a meeting, will not let me leave his office until I ask my CoS why the Minister calls him "p**syfingers." After three or four repetitions of the term "p**syfingers" I tell him in my serious voice that I don't think this is workplace-appropriate language. He tells me I'm a sh*t c**t.

• He is a man who, some 40 years my senior, groped and tried to stick his tongue down my throat in a lift at work.

• He is man who was my boss and pressured me incessantly to have sex with me. I did not want to, but that didn't matter.

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Furious female Labor staffers have warned MPs and male staffers accused of sexually harassing them at Parliament House that they will ‘no longer keep their secrets’.
Furious female Labor staffers have warned MPs and male staffers accused of sexually harassing them at Parliament House that they will ‘no longer keep their secrets’.

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Former Deputy Labor leader Jenny Macklin then weighed in with a message of support for the Labor staffers on the private Facebook group.

"Today I've read this post about the horrible experiences that so many talented women experienced,'' she wrote in the group.

"I believe you. This is not acceptable and it cannot continue.

"I understand there is a need for very real change. I will work with my former colleagues in the Australian Labor Party to make sure your voices are heard, that you are believed and that we stand up against the men in our party who have done these things.

"The Government has announced an independent and confidential 24/7 telephone service to support current and former Commonwealth ministerial, parliamentary and electorate office staff, and those who have experienced serious incidents in a Commonwealth Parliamentary workplace.

"The Parliamentary Support Line 1800 APH SPT (1800 274 778) is now available.

"The new service is free, anonymous, independent and completely confidential and can provide information, counselling and referrals in response to sexual violence, assault, sexual harassment or other serious incidents in the workplace."

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Former deputy leader Tanya Plibersek has also backed Ms Macklin’s message of support. Picture: James Ross/AAP
Former deputy leader Tanya Plibersek has also backed Ms Macklin’s message of support. Picture: James Ross/AAP

This afternoon, Ms Macklin's message of support was backed by another former deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, Labor frontbencher Katy Gallagher, Sharon Claydon and Anika Wells.

"We see you and hear you and are truly sorry that you have had these experiences working in the party,'' they wrote.

"As parliamentarians, we're committed to making sure that these matters are dealt with seriously and respectfully, if you want to take matters further. We will keep working to change this culture so other women don't have to go through what you have.

"We want to make sure everyone knows where you can access support if you need it and how you can take your disclosures further, if you want to.

"We are speaking to the (Sex Discrimination) Commissioner to ensure participation is safe, victim-centred and trauma informed. We are aware of some concerns about application of FOI to the review and are working to make sure any issues are addressed.

"Any staffers who want to attend a March 4 Justice tomorrow are encouraged to. If you're in Canberra, MPs will be meeting in the Marble Foyer at 11.45am to walk down to the March together.

"You are all very welcome to join us. This is a difficult time, but we are determined to ensure this becomes a moment for change. We will all do our best to make sure that happens."

The claims come after ex-Liberal party staffer Brittany Higgins’ allegation she was allegedly raped at Parliament House.
The claims come after ex-Liberal party staffer Brittany Higgins’ allegation she was allegedly raped at Parliament House.

 

 

The women's allegations follow the opinion piece of a formal Labor staffer Anna Jabour who said she fled Parliament's sexist, toxic culture for women after bad experiences when she worked for the Gillard Government.

It also follows ex-Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins allegation that she was allegedly raped at Parliament House by a Liberal colleague in the Defence Minister Linda Reynolds' office.

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Female Labor staffers expose sex 'secrets'

One of the posts submitted to the Facebook group.
One of the posts submitted to the Facebook group.
Frontbencher Anika Wells wrote in a joint statement with Tanya Plibersek, Labor frontbencher Katy Gallagher and Sharon Claydon that these experiences will be dealt with. Picture: NCA NewsWire /Jono Searle
Frontbencher Anika Wells wrote in a joint statement with Tanya Plibersek, Labor frontbencher Katy Gallagher and Sharon Claydon that these experiences will be dealt with. Picture: NCA NewsWire /Jono Searle

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