A Liberal MP claims she was subjected to sexual harassment while working at the ABC before she entered politics.
Victorian senator Sarah Henderson appeared on ABC’s Insiders alongside fellow Liberal MP Katie Allen on Monday to discuss the growing list of Parliament House sexual misconduct scandals.
When host David Speers asked whether, based on their previous experiences, they were unsurprised by the allegations coming out of Canberra, both women said they were shocked as they have always had a ‘positive’ time in parliament.
Victorian Liberal senator Sarah Henderson (pictured) has claimed she was subjected to sexual harassment while working as a journalist for the ABC between 1989 to 1998
However, Ms Henderson revealed she could not say the same about her employment as a reporter for Australia’s national broadcaster in 1989 to 1998.
‘That’s a risky question to ask me because I had nine years [working] at the ABC,’ the former journalist told Speers.
‘And I did have some pretty unpleasant moments, particularly when I was hosting the 7.30 report.’
The politician said that she addressed the incidents and action was taken against those responsible.
Despite her own personal experiences, Ms Henderson said she was ‘absolutely shell-shocked and disgusted’ by the allegations that have emerged from the nation’s capital over the past six weeks.
Sickening claims have continued to mount since former Liberal staffer Brittney Higgins came forward last month claiming she was raped in Parliament House by a senior colleague in 2019.
Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter was also accused of raping a woman in 1988 when the pair were teenagers but the accuser took her own life last year and Mr Porter has vigorously denied the claims.
Several female Labor staffers then took to a secret Facebook group to share stories of their own sexual assaults at the hands of male colleagues.
Ms Henderson said she believes the sexual misconduct issues in Parliament are not confined to her party
A string of alleged rapes at the hands of government ministers have been uncovered in recent weeks after former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins came forward claiming she was sexually assaulted by a colleague at Parliament House in 2019
And last week, SkyNews’ Peta Credlin alleged Liberal Party staffers had taken part in orgies inside Parliament House.
A whistleblower later shared footage with Ten News of a male staffer masturbating inside a female Liberal MP’s office, leading to his dismissal.
Ms Henderson said she believed there is not a particular problem within the Liberal Party, rather the issues are ‘above politics’.
‘I think we have seen allegations across the political divide and it is deeply concerning,’ she said.
‘I cannot believe there people possibly involved in those incident who are still in the building,’ Ms Henderson said.
‘I say get out. We need the bad eggs out of our parliament, out of our party, and there should be a zero tolerance for this type of behaviour.’
Ms Allen agreed, saying sexual misconduct is happening across Parliament and the country.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week condemned the ‘disgraceful acts’ that had occurred in Parliament House
‘I don’t think anyone questions that this is happening across Parliament,’ she said.
‘We know this is happening right across Australian society.’
Senior Coalition staffers allegedly swapped photos and video of themselves performing the solo sex acts in a Facebook Messenger group.
The vile acts were carried out more than two years ago but were only exposed after one of the advisers dobbed the rest of them in.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week condemned the ‘disgraceful acts’ that had occurred in Parliament House and vowed to listen more to the concerns of women.
‘I am even more concerned about, even more importantly, I acknowledge that many Australians, especially women, believe that I have not heard them, and that greatly distresses me,’ he said.
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