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Your views: on harassment, accusations, health services and more

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on a political crisis, eating disorder services, child protection and electric buses.

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Commenting on the opinion piece: ‘He put his hand up my skirt’: Report lifts lid on harassment in SA Parliament

I read with some degree of amazement the acting Equal Opportunity Commissioner Emily Strickland’s recommendations to create a safe workplace for staffers in parliament.

As a long term public servant, the behaviours alleged in the article are clearly against all current HR principles and the environments within government agencies would not tolerate these behaviours.

How is it possible that senior members of political parties are not aware of the requirements to behave appropriately and with integrity? – Name supplied

Next Monday, March 8, is International Women’s Day, and it is difficult to think of a week that better illustrates just how far we have to go.

On the positive side – the appalling violent sexist culture is being named and aired publicly. Dark secrets and appalling behaviour is on the front pages and hopefully some perpetrators will be nervously waiting to see if their names and behaviour feature in each round of headlines.

Hopefully also, this gives some level of recognition and vindication to all those women, and some men, who have been damaged by sexual harassment, bullying, assaults, or power plays that meant they were prevented from reaching their full potential (I’m thinking of Julie Bishop being deliberately blocked by her colleagues from getting the votes to become PM).

Equal representation in the halls of power is vitally important for a democracy to truly represent its community. The toxic culture, the predatory behaviour, the scheming is calculated to intimidate and disempower us.

Two years ago we celebrated the 125th anniversary of (most) women being able to vote or to run for parliament in SA (for Aboriginal women it wasn’t until 1962.) Today, women account for 27.5% of parliamentarians in SA. It is slightly better in Federal Parliament – 37%. Women account for 51% of the population.

Political parties – particularly those that don’t use quotas – say they would like to pre-select women but they find it difficult to attract women to be candidates.

Unfortunately, it’s a chicken and egg situation. Many women make sensible decisions not to choose parliamentary careers because they know the culture is so toxic and many of their colleagues are aligned against their progression; but the sexist culture won’t improve until there are more women in parliament – on all sides of the political spectrum.

So the challenge of this report is what to do to fix it. Various structures and supports in parliament is one thing, but ultimately it needs to be fixed at preselection stage so that predators are screened out, sexist, racist behaviour is ruled unacceptable and unelectable even in a safe seat, and a more representative selection is chosen – so our parliament really does represent the community. – Louise Miller Frost

Commenting on the story:Call for rape-accused minister to ‘out himself’

 The police have declined to take the matter further on insufficient evidence. The PM has declined to discipline a minister on the basis of an allegation.

To do otherwise would be against the principles of democracy,justice and right judicial  process. Turnbull, the Greens,and the ABC are ignorant in asserting otherwise. The horror of a society when actions are taken against citizens solely on the basis of allegations. – Ian Clarkson

Commenting on the story: Expert voices concern about new paediatric eating disorder service

As the parent of an ED sufferer, we have been on this journey for the past 16 years and still struggle to understand the State’s response to this hidden epidemic.

Once your child is past the age of 16, they move out of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital mental health care and fall through the cracks, of which there are many.

All the services are based around Ward 4G at Flinders Medical Centre with six beds and EDSA based in Brighton. The government is making noises of a new treatment centre, at Daw Park, so once again the rest of the city misses out completely.

There are over a million diagnosed sufferers in Australia and estimated to be a million more undiagnosed, so around 8% of the population. If you take into account the families of these people, then it is probably over 20% who are affected on a daily basis.

Imagine having to travel for 90 minutes each way across town during peak traffic periods, when you are suffering the mental health anxieties that the sufferers face every day. While the services for sufferers are in very short supply, those for their families are in even shorter supply, eg none.

There needs to be local facilities in each area where people can go for treatment and support. Don’t even mention the regional sufferers as it is far worse than even those in the northern suburbs.

Maybe we need to create a lobby group here in SA.

The Butterfly Foundation is based in Sydney and Victoria has an excellent support group for parents, but the National Eating Disorder Collaboration is also based in Sydney and hence the focus is on the eastern states. At best, the system is fragmented and disjointed with the limited funding and resources not nationally focussed or even evenly allocated based on population of sufferers. – Name supplied

Commenting on the opinion piece: SA bickers as child protection slides into crisis

Thank goodness that there is some sense of reality being expressed in terms of what is taking place in SA regarding our child protection system.

It is in a mess. We have poor leadership. Lack of experienced staff. And a system that does not support the notion that children are best if they are supported to stay with family.

How many more reviews and investigations must we have before we take real action to take better care of our babies? – Sandra Miller 

Commenting on the story: Electric bus company gears up for zero-emission growth

Just wanted to say “That is really good news” in a world where bad news is in my inbox most days.

I was really pleased to read this article. Everything we can do to reduce our impact on climate change is a win and the fact that this is a locally owned company and doing so well is fantastic. Keep up the good work. – Elaine Fardell

How can Australians invest in this company? – Brian Rees

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