Still no enforcement body to hold MPs to account, two years on


Today is the second anniversary of the day the government adopted former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins’ Set the Standards report, after its release in November 2021.

The recommendations in that report were intended to be adopted within 12 months. With the Independent Parliamentary Standards Commission (IPSC) now delayed until October 2024, an enforcement body to uphold the codes of conduct for parliamentary behaviour will be almost two years overdue.

Lines attributable to Greens leader in the Senate and spokesperson on women Senator Larissa Waters

“When former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins released the Set the Standard Report in 2021, the recommendations were intended to be fully implemented within 12 months - not 3 years.

“Establishing an independent, trauma-informed Parliamentary Workplace Support Service to support staff and MPs dealing with harassment and abuse has been a huge step forward, as has the adoption of long overdue draft codes of conduct for the parliamentary chambers, but without enforcement powers, they cannot solve the problem.

“I am proud of the progress that has been made, but we still need an Independent Parliamentary Standards Commission (IPSC) to enforce codes of conduct. 

“The timeframe for that IPSC was first extended until February, and has now blown out 1 whole year until October 2024.

“We know that without real prospects that an MP will be sanctioned, staff are reluctant to come forward. Consequences are crucial. 

“As a member of the Parliamentary Leadership Taskforce I know that work to set up the IPSC is complex, but there is no excuse for it having been so slow.

“The Greens will continue to push for real accountability and transparency, so that here in Parliament our workplace is leading by example to Set the Standard.”