Angus Taylor clashes with Deborah Knight over staffer rights
Energy Minister Angus Taylor has denied the need for a human resources department in Parliament after ex-staffer Brittany Higgins claimed she felt pressured not to pursue a criminal investigation into her alleged rape.
Mr Taylor argued staff should be comfortable to bring any issues forward to colleagues and bosses.
“But what if their boss is the one instigating that problem?” Deborah Knight asked. “If you don’t have an HR department, then -”
“People will be listening right now in small businesses,” Mr Taylor cut in. “They don’t have HR departments.”
“You have to have a work environment where people feel comfortable to do that. That is the key, Deb.”
Deborah argued the threat to privacy posed by the current complaints pathway in parliament is discouraging to many staffers, being subject to freedom of information requests.
“There is no inbuilt system to make people feel safe to come forward,” she said.
But Mr Taylor held firm. “The ‘inbuilt system’ is that your staff should always feel comfortable to come forward.”
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