Tying a White Ribbon around SA Parliament

With the latest allegations about sexual assault and harassment in the entertainment industry, it’s timely to remember that workplaces should also be safe places.

The Greens are urging all political parties and election candidates to support the Parliament of South Australia becoming a “White Ribbon Accredited Workplace” when Parliament resumes in April after the election.  Accreditation would recognise that those who work in Parliament House and outlying electorate and administrative offices are serious about stopping violence against women and are committed to strengthening gender equality.

Last year, the Victorian Parliament was the first Parliament in the world to receive White Ribbon Accreditation, so the precedent has been set.  Already, a number of South Australian government departments, (employing much larger numbers than Parliament) have been acknowledged with workplace accreditation.  These include the Departments of Treasury & Finance and Premier & Cabinet.

Under the proposal, all Parliament House staff along with Members of Parliament and their electorate staff will receive training and resources in identifying and challenging inappropriate behaviour and in promoting gender equality. The accreditation program, which runs over a 12-month period, would help create a safer and more respectful workplace.

Costings undertaken by the Parliament Budget Advisory Service [available on request] show that the cost of the scheme would be under half a million dollars over the first two years including specialised training for MPs and staff as well as administration and co-ordination.

“The White Ribbon organization is at the forefront of changing male attitudes to violence against women.  Many MPs from across the political spectrum are already White Ribbon Ambassadors, however accreditation of our own workplace sends an important message to the community about Parliament’s commitment to making South Australia a safer and more respectful place for women.

“The Greens will be seeking to convene a cross-party meeting of MPs after the election to work with the Joint Parliamentary Services Committee to get the ball rolling”, concluded Mark Parnell MLC.