Female MP lodges harassment claim as scandal widens


A Nationals MP has lodged a formal complaint against a man who allegedly harassed her in Parliament House.

Dr Anne Webster said the alleged incident happened in the House of Representatives chamber last week and that she did not want to recount the details publicly.

"My first thought was, you've got to be kidding me," the Victorian MP told the ABC.

"I mean, really? I was dumbfounded by this behaviour."

"I've since spoken to the person and he assures me it won't happen again," she said.

"We need to work very hard at changing the culture of what is acceptable."

"We can change the culture we're all tired of."

"These issues need to be raised, we need to be able to have mature conversations, we need to be able to work through with support so that we can change the culture we're all tired of," she said, according to the ABC.

The latest complaint came as Mr Morrison's approval ratings fell from 62 per cent to 55 per cent in two weeks as parliament's sex culture scandals, rape allegations and a debate over the treatment of women rages.

Newspoll figures from The Australian reveal the Prime Minister's disapproval ratings rose six points to 40 per cent, which reduced his net satisfaction ratings to plus 15 per cent.

While, the Coalition's popular support for the Liberal and Nationals' parties lifted a point to 40 per cent against a one-point fall for Labor to 38 per cent, Mr Morrison's popularity has fallen by four per cent, to 52 per cent as the preferred prime minister.

Mr Albanese rose two points to 32 per cent.

The two party preferred vote of 52-48 per cent in Labor's favour remains unchanged from a fortnight ago.

In July last year, Mr Morrison had a net favourability of plus 41 per cent.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese's performance is at 43 per cent - a point higher with net favourability of plus two.

While the margin in favour of Mr Morrison remains significant, it is the narrowest gap between him and Mr Albanese since March last year.

The slight improvement in the primary vote for the Coalition follows ongoing fallout from Brittany Higgins' rape allegations and another rape allegation against Attorney-General Christian Porter, which he denies.

The poll also comes after the March 4 Justice women's rally at Parliament House and the sacking of a Coalition staffer who was caught on video in a lewd sex act on a female MP's desk.

There were also reports of staff orgies in Parliament House made public by Peta Credlin on Sky News.

Dr Andrew Laming was also forced to stand down from his parliamentary roles after he was publicly called out for trolling and harassing women and taking an "inappropriate" photo of a woman's backside in 2019 while she was filling a fridge with drinks at a Brisbane landscaping business.

He has been asked to complete cultural sensitivity training by Mr Morrison.


Liberal MPs have called for regular drug testing in parliament in a bid to stamp out Canberra's hard drinking culture and the "problematic" behaviour of colleagues and staffers.

It comes after a series of damaging scandals being faced by the Morrison Government.

MPs Sarah Henderson and Katie Allen said breath testing and drug testing should be considered in order to change the alcohol culture.

"We need to have the highest possible standards in our workplace," Senator Henderson told the ABC's Insiders.

"Alcohol is a problem ... MPs and senators are not that special. We need to start looking at that issue as well."



She also said she had heard rumours about drug use, but did not know who was using and if the group included MPs.

Speaking about the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins, Senator Henderson said she was "absolutely disgusted" by the government's initial handling of the matter two years ago.

"I'm shell-shocked by the allegations which have emerged … and the fact that she didn't get the support that she needed," she said.

Senator Henderson said further revelations this week, including images showing a lewd sexual act being carried out on a female staffer's desk, were "absolutely disgusting".

"I say get out," she said.

"We need the bad eggs out of our parliament, out of our party and there should and must be a zero tolerance for this type of behaviour."

Dr Allen said parliamentarians should consider turning Parliament House into a dry environment.

"We need to have least responsible drinking. But there are people, even ministers, who have said to me: 'You know, Katie, perhaps a dry environment isn't such a bad idea.'"

Dr Allen said the drinking culture was concerning.




"I've heard people talking about how they drink because it helps them to stay up at night," Ms Allen told ABC's Insiders program on Sunday.

"I sat in an emergency department as a young doctor, through the hours trying to stay awake, having a drink isn't what you do.

"We are making important decisions on behalf of the society."

Government staffers will undertake face-to-face workplace, health and safety training amid sexual assault allegations and claims of inappropriate behaviour.

In an address to all Coalition staffers on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Morrison outlined three key actions to clamp down on parliament's toxic culture.

He told staffers the government would establish a register for staff induction and professional conduct across all ministerial offices.


Originally published as PM's approval ratings hit by sex scandals

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