Friday, February 01, 2019


Parliament is a toxic hellhole of a workplace, for MPs and staff alike. But its especially a toxic workplace for women MPs. And the perpetrators are often their fellow MPs:

A damning new survey from inside Parliament shows more than half of women MPs have been the targets of sexism and harassment while doing their jobs – much of it from other MPs.

Fifty-three per cent of the MPs who took part in the study said they had suffered "psychological violence" during their term in office.

The vast majority – 86 per cent – either did not know who to go to for help or decided to simply put up with the abuse.

In two cases, the MPs said sexist behaviour had convinced them not to seek re-election.

The report, released to Stuff by a cross-party group of women MPs, told of inappropriate touching at public meetings, death and rape threats from constituents, and sexist and humiliating comments in work environments, including Select Committee meetings.

Other MPs were commonly the perpetrators of sexist remarks, which were collated under the heading of "psychological violence". This was defined in the survey as "remarks, gestures and images of a sexist or humiliating sexual nature made against you and threats and/or mobbing".

There should be no place in our Parliament for this behaviour. All MPs deserve a safe workplace which is free of harassment and abuse. It is the duty of both the Speaker and their parties to provide it. Sharp, pointy questions need to be asked of both why they are not, and why they continue to tolerate abusive arseholes in their parties, rather than publicly naming and shaming them under parliamentary privilege and kicking them out on their arses. But part of the problem seems to be that party infrastructures are deeply sexist and hostile to women - so much so that some MPs refused to fill out the survey for fear of demotion or deselection.

The fact that women are leaving Parliament because of this abuse tells us that it is a problem for our democracy. We want a Parliament that looks like New Zealand, which represents everyone. That's not going to happen when its full of sexist arseholes who make it a hostile environment for others. The only way of fixing it is for those arseholes to be forced out and replaced by better people. Any party which doesn't say straight up what they're doing to do that simply is not worthy of your vote.