Under this act, MPs are able to sack their employees on the spot if they lose trust in them. As well as the wider culture of sexism and the ‘old boys club’ mentality that recent events have brought under scrutiny, Higgins has pointed to this legislation in particular as contributing to dangerous power imbalances.
“We had a discussion about what needs to happen in terms of the MoPS Act, where there needs to be better safeguards,” Higgins said, noting that the legislation did nothing to protect employees with complaints.
"We had a robust discussion about the need for an independent authority [for] human resources [...] ultimately, in the end, I think there was a consensus that reform needs to happen. I think that's where we need to be, that's a starting point and that is encouraging."
For his part, Morrison released a statement which said he was glad to meet with Ms Higgins and “listen to her views on how we can make parliamentary workplaces safe and more respectful.”
Morrison noted that he was looking forward to Higgins’ participation in the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces, adding that her “views and experience will be invaluable to the work of (Sex Discrimination) Commissioner Kate Jenkins.”
At this stage, Morrison has said that he’s committed to achieving an independent process to deal with these difficult issues. Meanwhile, an investigation is underway into Higgins’ alleged rape.