Mess over Labor’s ‘bonk ban’ rules
Anthony Albanese is preparing to "clarify" whether a new bonk ban will apply to MPs having sex with staffers and has called an unscheduled meeting of shadow cabinet to resolve the issue.
The Labor leader told the ABC's 7.30 report last night that not only frontbenchers but all MPs will be subjected to a prohibition, in a change that goes much further than the Morrison Government's own rules.
This was reported by multiple news outlets as a "new" bonk ban that was even tougher than the ban supported by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
However, Mr Albanese's office told news.com.au last night that it was not a new policy and the reports there was a new bonk ban were incorrect.
Instead, his office insisted that the bonk ban as originally devised by Malcolm Turnbull in 2018 following revelations of an extra marital affair was supported by Labor.
However, as senior Labor MPs pointed out to news.com.au, the bonk ban never applied to Labor shadow ministers, let alone MPs, because it is a ministerial code that applies in government.
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A shadow cabinet meeting has now been called to resolve the mess with the expectation that a new policy will be agreed to that applies to shadow cabinet ministers.
Mr Albanese said yesterday women needed to feel safe, but certainly made not mention of a new, tougher bonk ban.
"Under the Labor Party I lead, the same standard applies as that put in place by Malcolm Turnbull," he said.
"Women should feel safe in workplaces."
In the interview with 7:30 report he appeared to go further however, responding "yes" when asked by host Leigh Sales if Labor's rules banned MPs having sex with staff.
However, as news.com.au has confirmed no such rules exist.
Mr Albanese is expected to make an announcement clarifying these arrangements on Thursday.
The Labor leader's chief of staff wrote to all Labor MPs this week about the issues raised on the Four Corners program but again made no mention of a new bonk ban or indeed any prohibition on MPs having sex with staff.
"I want to assure all staff of our ongoing commitment to working to create a safe and respectful working environment,'' he said.
"The Labor Party is the party of equality. We stand for safe workplaces where harassment and discrimination are not tolerated. These jobs can be tough, but we can and should strive to create a strong and positive workplace culture.
"Over the course of this year, we have been undertaking work to ensure Labor's policy on workplace safety, including sexual harassment, is revised and updated.
"If you want to raise any issues, my door is always open and I will respect how you want to handle each issue.
"We work for Labor because we want to make Australia a better and fairer place. Our workplace should reflect the same principles that we campaign for every day."
Originally published as Mess over Labor's 'bonk ban' rules