The Parliamentary Prayer Room

Cory Bernardi
Cory Bernardi
The Parliamentary Prayer Room

Sometimes allegations are so unpalatable that people don't really want to know the truth. In this case we deserve to know the facts.

There are certain things we should expect from government. Honesty, accountability and integrity.

It doesn’t mean we will get them but they are the least we should hope for.

They also lead to another expectation – transparency.

Now every adult knows that there are things that governments prefer never see the light of public scrutiny. Sometimes there is good reason for this – maybe national security grounds and the like.

Sometimes, these rationales are used as an excuse not to discuss the inconvenient.

The authority of government can also make scandals disappear almost as quickly as they appear. One such way is to refer it to lawyers or claim there is an independent investigation.

By the time the report comes back or the investigation is concluded, the caravan of interest has moved on to the next pile of grist for the media mill.

That seems to be what happened with a vile and disturbing series of revelations that allegedly occurred in our national parliament.

Do you remember the stories of a gay staffer pleasuring himself over Nola Marino MPs desk?

It was used by the media to illustrate the ‘women problem’ in the Liberal Party.

That the people involved (the perpetrator and his friends who received the photographic evidence) were all homosexuals was less widely canvassed.

It didn't really fit the narrative of the problems within the Liberals.

Little too was made of the claims of MPs having ‘interactions’ in the parliament house prayer room or the allegations of a minister having staffers procure male prostitutes for his pleasure.

What was reported was quickly buried under the guise of an independent investigation and nothing more has been heard.

That is until this week when an online blogger, and dare I say no friend of the Liberals,  unearthed the investigation scope document.

It makes for unpleasant reading with allegations involving current and former MPs, staffers and an alleged male prostitute.

The report is entitled:

And was conducted by law firm Sparke Helmore on behalf of the department of finance.

I have a copy of the unredacted report but here is the redacted version available widely online.

It details allegations of inappropriate workplace behaviours taking place over many years. The evidence, provided by a whistle-blower included screenshots of text messages arranging a male prostitute for a married MP.

The report contains eleven allegations – many so lurid I won’t mention them here – identifies the people involved and details what evidence is available to sustain the claims.

This scoping document is dated 9 June 2021 – ten months ago.

The question I now have is where are the results of that investigation?

Have the people named in this report been cleared of wrongdoing? Has the public stain on the parliamentary prayer room been removed as a result of this investigation?

There is legitimate public interest in knowing the answer to those questions.

And what about the then minister accused of having sex with a male prostitute?

Those claims would be very hurtful to his wife and children and yet they are now just left lingering.

It’s just not fair. It’s not fair to the former minister or the currently serving MPs.

It’s not fair to those staffers accused of this misconduct and it’s not fair to all those who do or have worked in our great parliament.

But most of all its not fair to all the taxpayers of this nation.

We pay for the parliament. We have paid for this scoping document. We have paid for an independent investigation, made on behalf of a government department and somehow we are denied knowing the result.

That’s simply not good enough.

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