South Australian Labor MP Tony Piccolo faces claims of bullying

Aneela SiddiquiWeb Editor

18th Aug, 2021. 04:30 pm
Tony Piccolo

A second South Australian member of parliament has been referred to an official investigator over bullying claims.

Treasurer Rob Lucas says accusations against Labor MP Tony Piccolo have been forwarded to the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment.

It comes after allegations that a former trainee of MP was exposed to escalating harassment and abuse leading up to his resignation.

Last month, the state government submitted claims of bullying against Sports Minister Corey Wingard to the commissioner for further inquiry.

Sport SA chief executive Leah Cassidy filed a complaint against Mr. Wingard on two occasions, citing the minister’s conduct.

“However, these complaints can’t be properly dealt with by a cosy little internal review conducted by Labor-appointed investigators into a long-serving Labor MP,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

In relation to the allegations against Mr. Wingard, Premier Steven Marshall said previously that the matter was being treated seriously.

“We take any allegation seriously and so we’ve referred it on promptly,” the premier said.

Mr. Lucas said that the allegations against Mr. Piccolo as “disturbing,” particularly the allegations that the trainee was pressured to resign one month before his completion of training.

There were rumors that Labor has begun its own inquiry into the allegations, according to the treasurer.

“If there is reason to take any further action, I will have no hesitation in doing so.”

Last week, an alleged crime fuels a fresh wave of the #MeToo movement in Australia

On Friday, an Australian man was summoned to court for a sexual assault in parliament, an alleged crime that sparked a new wave of #MeToo demonstrations across the country.

The 26-year-old man will appear in court in September over the 2019 rape after officers served a summons to his lawyers, police in the Australian capital Canberra said in a statement.

Brittany Higgins, a former government employee, claimed in April that she was raped by a male coworker in a minister’s office in 2019 after a night out with conservative Liberal Party colleagues.

Her account came as a series of allegations emerged about the mistreatment of women in Australia’s parliament, resulting in tens of thousands of people protesting throughout the country that also fueled the #MeToo movement.

Higgins told a mass crowd in Canberra that her story was “a terrible reminder to women that it can happen in Parliament House, and indeed anywhere.”

“We recognize that the system is flawed and that the glass ceiling still exists,” she added.

Higgins’ allegation stirred a groundswell of pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison, whose government was already dogged by accusations of improper behavior towards women.

Police did not specify which allegation the charges related to but said it occurred in Parliament House on March 23, 2019.

Local media quoted Higgins as saying she had been told by authorities that the summons related to her allegation. The accused man will face one charge of sexual intercourse without consent. According to authorities, the maximum sentence is 12 years in jail.



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