The Australian Parliament has proposed a no-sex law stopping relationships between staff following the scandal involving Barnaby Joyce and the US congress’s move to introduce a ‘no-fraternising law’.
The Barnaby Joyce scandal that only arose this week has encouraged Cathy McGowan, the Independent member for IndI to raise the question of a ‘sex ban’ that would apply to MPs not allowing them to get close and personal after hours.
The member for Indi was worried that Parliament was in fact falling behind in the appropriate corporate and community practices and said that there needed to be “clear expectations about behaviour”.
McGowan stopped short of offering legislation for the appeal however believed that it was a necessary ban in order to maintain “good workplace practice”.
The appeal comes following the introduction of a law that banned sex between members of the US Congress and other staff that was passed via unanimous vote at the US House of Representatives this week.
Much of the reasoning behind the law was to give more junior staff members a chance to stand up for themselves and also reduce the likelihood of sexual harassment.
This has become somewhat of a global trend with many members of parliament, both in Australia and overseas, getting behind the law to ban sex between staff.
There are questions as to whether this is more of a reflex reaction to the Barnaby Joyce Scandal than a necessity in Australian Parliament.
Despite much of the positive reception to the idea, shadow attorney-general, Mark Dreyfus, said that he was shocked by the appeal and was hopeful that in no instance would Australian Parliaments “ever go down that path “ of introducing a ‘no-sex law’.
He reasoned that “relations between people are complicated” and it needs to be well thought through before there is any criminalisation of the act.
Mr Dreyfus did, however, admit that “sex in the office is always going to present problems” but that legislating relationships between members of parliament was another question.
Barnaby Joyce revealed earlier this year that he was expecting a baby with an ex-staff member of his, Vicki Campion. This comes following his split from his 24-year long marriage with wife Natalie Joyce.
Mr Joyce returned to parliament in December this year following the New England bi-election as a result of the dual-citizenship scandal.
There is currently no word on whether the two are involved in a serious relationship however there are multiple reports saying that Ms Campion has started living with Joyce with the baby expected to be due in April.
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