Review into bullying and harassment at Parliament

The Speaker, Trevor Mallard, has announced an external review into the bullying and harassment of staff at Parliament.

Note that this doesn’t address behaviour between MPs in Parliament or via the media, and it doesn’t address bullying and harassment of MPs by media.

Independent review launched into bullying and harassment at Parliament

Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Trevor Mallard, announced today that an independent external review into bullying and harassment of staff within the Parliamentary workplace will take place.

“Bullying and harassment are not acceptable in any workplace. It’s important that people at Parliament feel respected, safe, and supported each day coming to work,” the Speaker said.

The review will begin in early December 2018 and is expected to take at least four months to complete. It will look to:

  • Establish whether bullying and harassment (including sexual harassment) has occurred and, if it has, the nature and extent of this towards staff employed or engaged since the 51st Parliament (since October 2014). This includes contract staff, who regularly work on precinct, and former staff who no longer work in the Parliamentary workplace.
  • Review how previous complaints have been handled; whether policies, procedures, and related controls are effective; how they compare to best practice and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015; and whether there are any barriers to reporting or making complaints
  • Assess the culture of Parliament as a place to work and allow for consideration of other matters brought up in the review.

A draft report, with findings and recommendations, will be presented to the Speaker and the Chief Executive or General Manager of participating Parliamentary agencies. Following the delivery of the report, the agencies will consider how to action the report’s recommendations.

At an appropriate time, the report will be made public.

Who is leading the review?

Debbie Francis, an experienced consultant and independent external reviewer, will carry out the review. Debbie has previously led performance improvement reviews at Parliament, and elsewhere on behalf of the State Services Commission. Her recent work on bullying and harassment at the New Zealand Defence Force will be of particular value to this review.

The Speaker is sponsoring the review and will work with the agencies for which he is responsible to address the findings.

Participating in the review

The review will provide current and former Parliamentary staff with an opportunity to share any relevant experiences of bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, within the Parliamentary workplace. The review covers people employed or engaged by the Parliamentary Service, Ministerial and Secretariat Services, and the Office of the Clerk since the 51st Parliament.


Leave a comment


  1. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  29th November 2018

    Might be time for Trevor Mallard to get out of Parliament

    Ms Rankin says she was relentlessly bullied by senior Labour Party ministers after they took power in 1999, and that group included now-Speaker Mr Mallard.

    “He was a bully,” she told Newshub. “They were all bullies and they revelled in it.”

  2. duperez

     /  29th November 2018

    What’s this bullying in Parliament? Is that like the Deputy Speaker telling someone in a debate that they can’t use something in the body of their speech which the debater thinks is germane to their argument and the topic?

    Not that Winston Peters would use the description for Anne Tolley of course for yesterday’s episode. In a totally different environment with two different people, a link might be drawn to such an incident and the characteristics of bullying.😶

    • Gezza

       /  29th November 2018

      No. As PG states: the review will not cover behaviour between MPs in Parliament or via the media, and it doesn’t address bullying and harassment of MPs by media.

      This was mentioned in the item on 1ewes at 6 last night.

  3. Mother

     /  30th November 2018

    I think that there is no end to the working out of new systems to combat sexual harassment and the frustration only grows. New problem – it’s unique (of course! Every difficult situation with people in it is going to be unique) – and so this person who is left traumatised, doesn’t fit within ‘the system’. OK then, make that person be quiet. Tell that person to get over it. Then get back on the bandwagon to work it out/tweak it/create a new system, so it ‘never happens again.’ Frustration grows within communities. There are answers but those in power, or the pen pushers, make their living out of this. Do they care?


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