Friday, 3 August 2018

Statement from Australian Greens Co-Convenors re Sexual Assault Allegations

2018-08-02

Trigger warning: Sexual Assault

Statement from Australian Greens Co-Convenors
Regarding Issues Aired on 7.30 program on Thursday 2nd August, 2018.

The Australian Greens consider that it is our obligation, and it is the obligation and responsibility of every member of our organisation, to ensure that the workplace and our party activities are free from sexual harassment and assault.


We must be proactive in creating a safe environment for all individuals who take part in our movement. We acknowledge that our organisation has not always had processes in place that support and facilitate this goal.

We acknowledge that under difficult circumstances, the New South Wales Greens made mistakes in handling complaints. The Australian Greens are working with the Greens NSW to review and strengthen their complaint handling process. To women who have felt let down by the process, we apologise.
The most recent complaint was forwarded to an independent third-party investigator pursuant to The Greens NSW’s Preventing and Responding to Sexual Harassment Policy and that investigation has not yet been finalised.

We are committed to ensuring that if a claim is made by someone, they are taken seriously and supported to take the claim as far as that person wants, through a process that is fair, supportive and sensitive.

Over the last twelve months, we have worked with our National Council, women’s working groups and experts in the field to reform and strengthen our national policies and processes and reinforce a culture of respect towards everyone involved in our movement, especially women. In line with this strong commitment, both the Australian Greens and the Greens New South Wales have taken steps to significantly strengthen our processes and are committed to regularly reviewing and improving the way we address these issues.

The Australian Greens Anti-sexual Harassment Policy 2018, explicitly excludes MPs from any involvement in this process. This is particularly important in the event that an MP becomes the subject of these matters. The Australian Greens Anti-sexual Harassment Policy 2018 requires any MP to refer complaints directly to the National Co-Convenors or National Manager.

Consistent with our policy, the Australian Greens determined that it would have been inappropriate for Senator Di Natale to participate in the 7.30 program interview. The Australian Greens offered a spokesperson who could speak directly about the Greens response to sexual harassment. We are disappointed that 7.30 declined this interview and have not included our statement on their website.

In relation to the complaint aired on the 7.30 program, the Office of Senator Di Natale followed the Australian Greens policy and on a number of occasions proactively contacted the complainant to make sure the claim was being addressed in a timely manner and by the right person, with the right training.The Office of Senator Di Natale provided detailed information to the 7.30 program outlining the steps that were taken once the complainant contacted their office. We are disappointed that this was not represented in the program.
We acknowledge the pain that survivors of sexual harassment, violence or assault endure and the courage it takes for them to come forward. Every time an incident like this occurs, wherever it occurs, the Australian Greens will take action to support survivors, reflect on our processes, and learn so we can improve them.

Anyone who wishes to contact the Australian Greens to discuss any issues arising from these reports can call our national manager via our national phone line 1800 017 011 or email convenor@greens.org.au.  A link to the Greens Anti-Sexual Harassment policy and resources for those needing assistance and support can be found here.

Richard Di Natale's statement on this issue can be read here.
And of course, if you, or someone you know, needs support or advice you can contact 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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