Media Centre - 8th February 2022

“An important first step but we can and must do better”: Plan International Australia responds to Set the Standard statements in Parliament

The following can be attributed to Plan International Australia CEO Susanne Legena:

“Today’s statements by politicians in Parliament were an important first step in addressing the sexual harassment and assault allegations, and the systemic misogyny and sexism that has plagued Australia’s political system for a long time now.

The findings of Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins’ damning inquiry, Set the Standard, last November were appalling yet, sadly, unsurprising.

These apologies and acknowledgements today were the first of Ms Jenkins’ recommendations, and while today marked a step in the right direction, it is crucial that these words are followed with real, tangible action.

As the charity for girls’ equality, Plan International Australia believes it is critical that the Government adopt all 28 of the review’s recommendations in order for real, structural change to be achieved.

Australians – and especially women and girls – have made their voices heard, loud and clear. Enough is Enough. Our nation’s power holders and decision makers must listen. They must do more to ensure Parliament is free from misogyny, abuse and sexism, that it represents the true diversity of our country and that it is safe.

One in three parliamentary staffers who responded to the Set the Standard inquiry said they had been sexually harassed, while more than half have experienced at least one incident of bullying, sexual harassment or actual or attempted sexual assault.

A quarter of those who said they were sexually harassed said it was done by a parliamentarian, and nearly two-thirds of female politicians reported having been sexually harassed.

This is deeply upsetting. Parliament should be setting the standard for workplace culture around the country. The toxic and dangerous environment of our nation’s most powerful workplace is unacceptable.

On behalf of Plan International Australia, I want to commend the strength and courage of all survivors who have come forward with accounts of sexual harassment and bullying within parliamentary offices and any workplace.It has been incredibly inspiring to witness the extraordinary role of brave young women such as Brittany Higgins, Dhanya Mani, Grace Tame and Chanel Contos in relentlessly leading and driving calls for change. We can, and we must, do better.”

Media contacts

Claire Knox

Public Relations Advisor
+61 452 326 549

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