Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has introduced a bonking ban for Labor frontbenchers after the federal government became embroiled in a sex scandal.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has introduced a bonking ban for Labor frontbenchers after the federal government became embroiled in a sex scandal.

Labor pollies banned from sexual relationships with staff

Labor frontbenchers will be banned from having sexual relationships with their staff after Scott Morrison pressured Anthony Albanese to toughen the opposition's standards.

The Opposition Leader's decision came after Labor MPs publicly pushed for their party to copy the government's ministerial code of conduct.

Momentum is also growing for new protocols to prevent and punish sexual misconduct in parliament after a sex scandal embroiled two Liberal ministers.

Staffers from across the political spectrum said they believed the scandal involving Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge and Attorney-General Christian Porter highlighted the need for tougher rules and improved complaint procedures.

It came as Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young refused to say whether she asked a Liberal staffer for permission before telling the ABC about a conversation in which she said the young woman told her she was in "somewhat of a relationship" with Mr Porter.

"I stand by every word," Senator Hanson-Young said, despite Mr Porter denying her claims.

Sexual harassment and bullying complaints - including one lodged by Rachelle Miller, a Liberal adviser who had an affair with Mr Tudge - are dealt with by the Department of Finance.

Questions have been raised about the effectiveness of the system, as some Liberal staffers said they were disappointed party leaders did not promise action this week, after the Herald Sun revealed Labor was working on new processes to stamp out its boozy and blokey culture.

Before confirming his new standards, Mr Albanese had declined to answer questions about whether he would strengthen Labor's approach, which caused distress among some staffers.

Labor frontbencher Katy Gallagher called for a new code of conduct to send a "very firm message" to MPs.

"It is an issue that's been kicked around this place for a long time," she said.

Victorian Labor MP Peta Murphy said she was a "fierce advocate for proper codes of conduct" and Labor needed to engage in that conversation.

The Prime Minister told parliament on Tuesday he believed every MP should be "held to the same standards" as ministers when it came to office relationships.

"That sort of thing should not be on in this place," Mr Morrison said.

It came as Labor MPs continued to fight over outspoken MP Joel Fitzgibbon's resignation from Mr Albanese's shadow cabinet, after a fiery meeting on Monday night.

The Hunter MP said it was "no secret that my mate Albo and I have had some dust-ups".

Victorian Labor Right MP Mark Dreyfus - who recently called Mr Fitzgibbon the "idiot for Hunter" - refused to comment on their argument in shadow cabinet.

But he dismissed Mr Fitzgibbon's push to bring Labor back to the political centre on climate change, saying he did not represent "more than a handful of views in the Labor Party" and was "out of step" with the country.

MORE NEWS

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WHEN PM WILL HAVE POWER TO RIP UP DAN'S CHINA DEAL

 

tom.minear@news.com.au

Originally published as Labor pollies banned from sexual relationships with staff


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