Australia

Nationals MP Anne Webster lodges harassment complaint about recent incident inside Parliament House

There is yet another sexual harassment claim in Parliament House, with Nationals MP Anne Webster making a complaint against somebody who harassed her last week.

Dr Webster said she was shocked by the incident, especially as a major inquiry investigates the toxic workplace culture in parliament.

“My first thought was ‘You have got to be kidding me’,” she told ABC radio.

“I mean, really? I just was dumbfounded at this behaviour. Because it wasn’t the first time. So for me it was like ‘No, I have to actually address this’.”

The other person involved has apologised and committed to not harass anyone again.

Dr Webster said she is satisfied with the outcome.

Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on Queensland coalition MP Andrew Laming to quit politics immediately.

Dr Laming is on medical leave and will not contest the next election after being exposed bullying, stalking and harassing women.

He is also under fire for taking a photo up a woman’s skirt at her workplace, which is a criminal offence.

Senior cabinet ministers have described the backbencher’s behaviour as completely unacceptable.

But the government has rejected suggestions he should quit immediately, which would leave the coalition without a majority in the lower house.

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the government’s response is not good enough.

“There’s no role for Andrew Laming in the parliament with this history of abusing people and trolling people and bullying and belittling people and potentially criminal issues at play,” Dr Chalmers told ABC radio.

The government already has two senior members on prolonged sick leave.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds took leave following her mishandling of rape allegations raised by former staffer Brittany Higgins.

Attorney-General Christian Porter is off work after being accused of an alleged rape when he was a teenager, which he denies.

Both ministers are expected to shift portfolios in a looming reshuffle, but will remain in cabinet.

The cases have uncovered many cases of unsavoury behaviour in Parliament House, with female politicians speaking out about its toxic nature.

Two Liberal women, Katie Allen and Sarah Henderson, have suggested alcohol and drug testing to improve the culture in Canberra.

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