Claim of parliament sexual harassment

A female Coalition MP has come forward with a fresh allegation of sexual harassment, this time inside the House of Representatives.

A female Coalition MP has come forward with a fresh allegation of sexual harassment, this time inside the House of Representatives.

Nationals MP Anne Webster has lodged a formal complaint after alleging she was harassed by an unnamed male MP in the lower house last week.

The government has been rocked by a series of sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations for over a month.

Dr Webster said it was not the first time she had experienced harassment in parliament but, given the context, last week’s incident left her “dumbfounded”.

“My first thought was: ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. I mean, really?’” she told ABC radio on Monday.

“Because it wasn’t the first time and so for me it was, like: ‘No, I have to actually address this.’”

She revealed she had spoken to the man at the centre of the complaint, saying parliament needed to reform its standards for acceptable workplace behaviour.

“He assures me it won’t happen again,” she said.

Dr Webster is the National party’s point of contact as parliament responds to a wave of allegations, but said she was surprised to have to utilise the complaints process herself.

“I just didn’t think that I would be walking through it myself and needing to call on the finance department counselling service last week,” she said.

Canberra has been shocked by a series of revelations over men’s mistreatment of women, ranging from sexual harassment to rape.

Last week, a Liberal staffer was forced to resign after it was revealed he had sent images of himself masturbating over a female MP’s desk to colleagues.

On the weekend, Liberal MP Andrew Laming confirmed he would undergo empathy training and not contest the next election, after admitting to abusing constituents online.

Dr Webster described Mr Laming’s behaviour as “appalling”, but said there was a distinct mood for change among people she had spoken to.

“This is not about the emasculation of men,” she said.

“It’s about how do we work together to achieve the greatest outcomes in our capacities in which we are working and how do we understand one another better and keep it above board.”

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