Brittany Higgins appointed to safety role

Paul OsborneAAP
Brittany Higgins will work on a code of conduct to prevent and respond to abuse and misconduct.
Camera IconBrittany Higgins will work on a code of conduct to prevent and respond to abuse and misconduct. Credit: AAP

Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins has been given a key role in designing a code of conduct covering Parliament House and parliamentary workplaces.

As the inaugural Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University’s Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, Ms Higgins will work on the code to prevent and respond to abuse, harassment and sexual misconduct.

She will also work on implementation of the landmark Respect@Work report and promote the importance of young women’s leadership.

GIWL at ANU undertakes research and advocacy to support women’s leadership and improve workplace gender equality.

ANU is the first university in the world to partner with the original Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London, established and led by former prime minister Julia Gillard.

Ms Gillard said Ms Higgins was “a powerful force for change who had already greatly advanced the national conversation and push for reform in one of the most confronting and urgent issues Australia faces”.

“In Brittany, Australia has an incredible leader who is already having a profound impact,” Ms Gillard said.

“I applaud her courage in coming forward with her experiences, and her determination to make sure other women do not ever have to go through what she has.

“Her bravery should and must lead to meaningful change, not only in our workplaces, but across all our society.”

Ms Higgins said in a statement all women had a right to feel safe and respected at work and in society more broadly.

“I am dedicated to driving meaningful change in Parliament House, and all Australian workplaces, so that our systems work better to prevent and respond to inappropriate workplace conduct,” she said.

Her work will also include progressing issues raised at this year’s Women’s Safety Summit.

GIWL director, Professor Michele Ryan, said young voices like Ms Higgins’ were fundamental to driving change.

“Sexual harassment, sexual assault, inequality, abuse: these are issues women have been confronting in the workplace and society for too long,” Prof Ryan said.

“But Brittany is a voice for change who will not only help advance the case for reform in Australia but who will inspire a new generation of women to keep demanding nothing less than what they are all owed: respect.”

Ms Higgins came to prominence when she went public with an allegation she was raped in 2019 in the office of a federal minister in Parliament House.

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