Two senior female South Australian MPs are hopeful behaviour will change in State Parliament and young women will not be discouraged from wanting to become politicians.

Key points:

  • A review found sexual harassment was prevalent in South Australia’s Parliament
  • Two senior female MPs say the behaviour could prevent other women wanting to enter politics
  • They have called for a change to the Parliament’s culture

Deputy Labor leader Susan Close and Greens MLC Tammy Franks, both long-serving MPs, say findings in a review into sexual harassment in South Australia’s Parliament released yesterday were upsetting but not surprising.

Former Acting Equal Opportunity Commissioner Emily Strickland found sexual harassment was prevalent in Parliament, with eight people reporting being victims of sexual harassment by MPs or their staff in the past five years.

Dr Close said the report had “deeply disturbed” her but the findings were “not surprising”.

Susan Close says all Labor MPs have been told to read the review.(

ABC News


She said behaviour such as someone in Parliament putting their hand “really far up” a woman’s skirt was shocking and needed to be addressed.

“After all, I want young women to aspire to work here,” she said.

“I think we need to take this as an opportunity to turn things around, to acknowledge problems and to act.”

About a quarter of people working in Parliament responded to the survey.(

ABC News: Nick Harmsen


Review came after assault charge

The review of parliamentary behaviour was ordered last year, after Liberal MP Sam Duluk was outed for inappropriate behaviour at a Christmas Party in Parliament House.

He apologised, but was later banished from the Liberal Party, when he was charged with assaulting SA Best MLC Connie Bonaros.

The Equal Opportunity Commission surveyed parliamentary staff, receiving a response from about a quarter of them.

More than a quarter of survey respondents reported they had experienced sexual harassment in the parliamentary workplace.

Greens Upper House member Tammy Franks wants change, not “hand-wringing”.(

ABC News


Greens MP calls for change

Ms Franks said she was “not surprised” by the outcome of the review.

She said sexual harassment was “a disincentive for people to get involved in politics”.

“It’s got a sexist culture and the report comes as no surprise to many of us that work here.

“I hope that we don’t just see some hand-wringing, some outrage and then silence and inaction.”


The Acting Commissioner made 16 recommendations to address the problems, including training for MPs and staff, a new centralised parliamentary human resources division, and a code of conduct for MPs.

Ms Strickland also called on both houses to review standing orders to allow breast and bottle feeding in the chamber.

Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said she would support measures to make State Parliament safe for all staff and MPs.

“And I am confident there are many leaders in the opposition and in leadership in this Parliament who would say the same,” she said.

“I encourage that anyone in the parliamentary workplace who in reading the content of this report may feel upset, distressed or troubled in any way to seek support.”

Federal South Australian Liberal MP Nicolle Flint last week announced she would quit politics after facing sexist abuse.