Politics

The Greens Have Been Accused Of Ignoring Sexual Assault And Harassment Within The Party

Multiple women say their complaints were mishandled by the party.

Greens

The ABC has aired a damning investigation into the apparent failure of the Australian Greens to properly handle allegations of sexual misconduct within its ranks.

Multiple women interviewed by 7.30 claimed the Greens did not adequately address reports of assault and harassment committed by party staff and volunteers.

Former research assistant Ella Buckland told the program that NSW state MP Jeremy Buckingham grabbed her and kissed her without her permission in 2011. Buckingham has denied the allegations, while the NSW Greens say an investigation is ongoing.

When Buckland made a formal complaint to the Greens about the incident earlier this year, she said her report was poorly handled.

“No one wanted to deal with me,” she said. “It was a bit of buck passing. No one really knew what to do.”

Journalist Lauren Ingram said she experienced similar levels of dysfunction after she reported being raped by a Greens volunteer in 2015. She told 7.30 that while the party initially seemed to take her complaint seriously, she then experienced months of radio silence — despite learning that a number of other women had accused her alleged rapist of harassment and assault.

Ingram said it was only after she tweeted about the alleged attack that the party took action, with the Greens issuing a press release saying the volunteer had been suspended shortly after Ingram’s complaint, and that party policies surrounding sexual misconduct were under review.

“I never got anything formal in response saying this is how we’ve dealt with it,” said Ingram. “All I got, all I saw was the press release.”

“I certainly thought that the party would do better. I’d hoped the party would do better.”

Lawyer Rory Markham is advising a number of women who say the Greens mishandled their complaints about sexual misconduct. He said the party had shown an attitude of “absolute dismissiveness” and that the priority seemed to be to “maintain party brand at all costs”.

In a statement issued shortly after the 7.30 report went to air, Greens leader Richard Di Natale said he had been “devastated” to learn about the assault allegations.

“To the women involved, on behalf of our party, I am deeply sorry that you felt alone and unsupported,” he said. “You had the courage to come forward and you deserved better.

“Over the last twelve months, we’ve worked with our federal MPs, Office Bearers, women’s working groups and experts in the field to reform and strengthen our national policies and processes,” he continued. “Our party is rolling out mandatory independent training for party officials, staff and MPs, is providing clear pathways to support women to make complaints, and is committed to responding to claims in a way that is timely, sensitive and respectful.”

You can watch the entire 7.30 report here.