Sex harassment in Australia’s parliament has become widespread, report finds

The House of Representatives has expelled two more lawmakers after accusations of sexual harassment. A spokesperson for the Speaker of the House said the abuse is widespread in Australia’s parliament, with multiple cases highlighted in a recent report.

Politics Australia reports that embattled former government whip, Trevor Evans, admitted to sexually harassing 19-year-old Lauren Brant, who was a parliamentary assistant. A spokesman for the Speaker also said Evans placed his hand on Brant’s crotch “without her consent” in front of other colleagues.

Tara Costigan also resigned after an investigation found her “inappropriate sexual relationship” with a staffer was unacceptable. On Thursday, she and 14 other women accused the party of being “disrespectful” and “completely out of step” in its treatment of women.

According to PolitiFact, this pattern of sexual harassment is not new: A 2008 report found two-thirds of Australian parliamentarians had received multiple complaints of sexual harassment over the previous seven years.

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