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Monday, 26 February 2018
Page: 1819


Ms PLIBERSEK (SydneyDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (13:57): This week the government gave a sterling guide of how not to deal with sexual harassment complaints. Firstly, the former Deputy Prime Minister called for allegations against him to be referred to the police. Sexual assault and sexual harassment are not the same. Assault should always be referred to the police. But organisations should have strong policies in place to deal internally with sexual harassment complaints in the first instance, as clearly set out by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The complainant requested that the National Party executive conduct a formal and confidential investigation, as is her right. Instead, someone either inside the Liberal Party or the National Party, for political reasons of their own, splashed her identity across the front page of The Australian. Leaking the woman's identity against her consent is a betrayal of trust and will make it less likely that other women with similar complaints will come forward. The member for Mallee says the leaker was a Liberal. If so, the Prime Minister has questions to answer. Did he or his office or any member of his government have any role in identifying the woman who lodged a confidential sexual harassment complaint against the former Deputy Prime Minister, and what steps has the Prime Minister taken to assure Australians that such complaints will be properly investigated and that complainants— (Time expired)