/ 23 March 2021

A new gross cloud forms over parliament house culture

• Allegations that 4 male Liberal Party staffers had committed lewd acts inside the offices of female MPs and other places around Parliament House were aired last night by Network 10 and The Australian. For a couple of years, the men took pics while “pleasuring themselves” and shared them with the group. The man at the centre of the furore was sacked last night with PM Scott Morrison calling the behaviour “disgusting and sickening”. It’s more fodder for Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins’ investigation into the workplace culture around Parliament House…

• Onto Brittany Higgins’ case and the Parliament security guard who discovered the staffer in her office after the alleged rape last night told ABC’s Four Corners that she and her colleagues followed the correct procedure. She said she’s worried about being scapegoated for allowing the pair into the building.

• And the inquiry ordered by PM Scott Morrison into who in his office knew what and when about Higgins’ alleged rape has been paused amid concerns it could interfere with the police investigation. The PM’s department boss Phil Gaetjens yesterday said the probe was suspended on 9 March “for the benefit of Ms Higgins” – a comment that sparked fury from Labor Senator Penny Wong, who described the decision as a “cover-up”.

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