Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Political Leaders Must Be the Ones to Set Standards

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Political Leaders Must Be the Ones to Set Standards

Article excerpt

OUR parliaments must set higher standards than those exhibited by former minister Jamie Briggs and the clumsy-thumbed Peter Dutton.

The Prime Minister showed better sense in banishing Briggs than he did in appointing him to a junior ministry.

By all accounts he had form with alcohol, making him at best a risky pick.

Acknowledgement that he had sent colleagues photos of the young public servant he offended with his behaviour, should ring time on his political career.

If his behaviour in a Hong Kong bar made him unfit to remain a minister, his actions in posting photos of his victim both immediately after the incident and following his standing down by Mr Turnbull make him unfit for public office.

The Prime Minister identified the problem on Monday saying it was action that could deter victims of sexual harassment from coming forward.

"Publishing the identity of a complainant in a case like this not only infringes their privacy, it serves actively to discourage other women who are concerned about the conduct of a superior from raising a complaint in the future," he told Fairfax Media.

Mr Turnbull must now act to ensure Briggs is not re-endorsed as the Member for Mayo in South Australia.

The Liberal Party of South Australia has already removed from its website any reference to Briggs as the Minister for Cities and Built Environment, his former portfolio. The ex-lobbyist and party operative has not been as quick to do the same on his own website. Nor has he offered on it any sign of contrition to his electorate.

At a time women are being urged to complain about spousal abuse and to not hide in shame but to speak up about sexual harassment, Briggs' action in sending friends in politics photos of the public servant and then one of those leaking the image to News Ltd is beyond disturbing.

The publishing of the woman's age and job description along with selected text messages was designed to make her the issue, rather than Briggs' behaviour. …

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