Senate debates

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Statement by the President

Members of Parliament: Staff

9:31 am

Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

We've waited a couple of weeks to get an answer on the question of who signed Brittany Higgins's rapist into the building. This is after the rape that is alleged to have occurred in Minister Reynolds's office. We've waited those two weeks and we've had this response which you've just now tabled, which says you think it might be privileged information and you're going to send it to a confidential committee to advise on whether that's the case and how to proceed. Well, it looks an awful lot like sweeping this under the carpet and sending it to a committee that is not conducted in public and that presumably can't be spoken about publicly. I also question the fact that advice will be sought from the Clerk. Well, you could have asked the Clerk for advice a couple of weeks ago, and we all could have benefited from the response to that advice. I'm concerned at the lack of transparency that will now be associated with this process.

I also asked some questions about the event that the alleged rapist was in the building to attend. Those questions didn't pertain at all to who signed him in. They in no way concern privileged information and should have been answered. I acknowledge you've said you've still got a couple of weeks to respond to those, and I really look forward to the answer to those questions, because, at this point in time, people not only want to know that their workplaces are safe around the country but they want to know that everything is being done in this workplace to keep young female workers, and all workers, safe. I'm very concerned that this process is now being sent to a confidential committee. The Greens will participate in it, but it feels deeply inappropriate to send this off with no date for when a resolution will occur and with limited ability for this to be then publicly spoken about. I really don't think this is going to go down well, and we will continue to seek answers to these questions of who signed the rapist into the building.


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