Australia’s ruling party is dealing with a new sexual misconduct scandal involving male staffers that Prime Minister Scott Morrison calls “absolutely shameful.”
A report carried by The Australian newspaper and the national Ten Network on Monday revealed that several staffers had filmed themselves performing sex acts in Parliament House, including on the desk of at least one female lawmaker, and shared the images on a special Facebook group chat page.
Prime Minister Morrison told reporters Tuesday that he was “shocked and disgusted” by the report, and that a lawmaker’s staff member has been fired for taking part in the group.
The prime minister and his conservative Liberal Party has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks over a series of allegations of sexual misconduct within its ranks. The most serious allegation came from Brittany Higgins, a former staff member of Defense Minister Linda Reynolds, who said she was raped by a senior staffer in Parliament House in 2019. Another involves Attorney-General Christian Porter, who has also been accused of raping a 16-year-old girl in 1988 when he was 17, an allegation he denies.
The scandals prompted mass rallies across Australia more than two weeks ago with protesters demanding an end to sexual violence against women.
Prime Minister Morrison said Tuesday that he was open to the Liberal Party introducing a minimum quota on female candidates in order to increase the number of female lawmakers.