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Harassment, bullying of women: Liberal Party in process to work out code of conduct

CANBERRA (Australia):  Liberal Party is considering a code of conduct to overcome allegations against the party it harbours a toxic culture towards women.

The party is in the process of working out code of conduct and dispute resolution mechanism to deal with rogue members who engage in bullying, intimidation and harassment of women in the party.

Emerging from a federal executive meeting in Canberra, Liberal Party president Nick Greiner said a new code of conduct and dispute resolution process would likely be in place by the end of the year.

It comes after two former female staffers came forward this week to allege they were sexually assaulted while working for the party several years ago – and that officials ignored their complaints.

Mr Greiner said the new measures had nothing to do with the allegations raised this week and were recommendations from a highly anticipated bullying review.

He said that the party did not consider the two examples the media has run. They are not federal examples, they are historical and we have no knowledge of them, he added.

Ordered by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the wake of last year’s leadership spill, the report by Brian Loughnane and Chris McDiven is understood to be almost complete.

At the time, female Liberal MPs complained of the “nasty” tactics employed by some male colleagues, while others spoke out about deeper problems, including Ann Sudmalis who accused local branch members of years of “bullying, intimidation, leaking and undermining”.

The fact that a code of conduct is even being considered is seen as a concession that there are entrenched cultural problems in the male-dominated party that need to be addressed.

Sources point to some recent scandals including the four New South Wales Young Liberals who got suspended for making lewd comments about women in an online chat group.

But there is no guarantee the new rules will be adopted nationally.

Because of the structure of the Liberal Party, the federal executive can only recommend the states and territories adopt the measures.

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