When political parties put their reputations first, staffers like Brittany Higgins suffer | Maria Maley for the Conversation

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Brittany Higgins’ allegation she was raped in a minister’s office at Parliament House is just one of a number of stories of bullying, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct that have exposed the dark side of working conditions for some political staffers.

As a researcher of political staff in Australia, I am trying to understand why this behaviour exists within the working culture of parliament, why it is reaching the public eye now and what needs to be done about it.

Over the summer I interviewed eight former political staffers about their experiences working in ministers’ offices and electorate offices – both at the federal and state level.

They described instances of bullying and sexual harassment by other staffers and their bosses. It is hard to know how common this is, as…

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