Changing the Conditions Underpinning Gendered Entitlement in Parliament as a Workplace

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Gendered entitlement underpins the bullying, harassment and assault which flourishes in places like the Australian Parliament, where power is concentrated in the hands of male politicians. This article identifies necessary steps to undercut it. Mitigation measures should include a robust complaints process independent of, and external to, Parliament; demonstrable and transparent consequences for offenders; and the use of regular, anonymous, publicly available surveys of MPs, political staffers and ancillary staff to track incidents relative to actual complaints, so the system can be adjusted to maximise effectiveness. These measures are necessary but not sufficient, given parliamentary offenders’ amplified sense of entitlement that underpins the problem’s resistance to change. Active measures must be taken to induce real diversity throughout the parliamentary ecosystem, beyond the current ‘50/50 gender equity focus’, to disrupt current patterns of entitlement based on gender, race and class that make parliaments as workplaces less safe. Parallels with society as a whole need to be drawn, and comparable initiatives and approaches deployed community-wide to address the same pervasive problems
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-35
Number of pages16
JournalAustralasian Parliamentary Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2021


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