In February 2022, in response to Recommendation 21 of Set the standard: report on the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces, the House of Representatives and the Senate established the Joint Select Committee on Parliamentary Standards. The committee was tasked with conducting an inquiry into the development of codes of conduct for Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces (CPWs).

At the commencement of the 47th Parliament, the committee was re-established to inquire into, and report on, matters relating to the development of codes of conduct for Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces. The terms of reference for the inquiry were the same as those that had been referred to the committee in the previous parliament.

The report is divided into five chapters. This first chapter outlines the resolution for the establishment of the committee, the referral and conduct of the inquiry and the scope of the report. It also provides some initial background regarding the issue of workplace culture in the Australian Parliament and how it has become the focus of significant public attention over recent years.

Chapter 2 discusses the work that has been undertaken over recent years in response to concerns about the Australian Parliament’s workplace culture, including allegations of misconduct, and reports of bullying, harassment, sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Chapter 3 provides an overview of the committee’s examination of the codes of conduct developed and used in other parliaments. The committee looked at the codes of conduct that exist in Australian state and territory parliaments, and in comparable overseas parliaments.

Chapter 4 provides an overview of the evidence received in relation to the committee’s terms of reference.

Chapter 5 presents the Behaviour Standards and Codes the committee has drafted. It provides the committee’s views in relation to the proposed codes of conduct, including how they align with the Jenkins review’s recommendations on the standards and codes. The chapter also provides the committee’s recommendations regarding how these codes will be presented, implemented, embedded and reviewed over coming years.

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