Media Releases → 2021

MEDIA RELEASE

Support line available for all Commonwealth parliamentary staff

Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
Minister for Finance
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for South Australia

Date: Tuesday, 2 March 2021

The Government has today established an independent and confidential 24/7 telephone service to support current and former Commonwealth ministerial, parliamentary and electorate office staff, and those who have experienced serious incidents in any Commonwealth Parliamentary workplace.

 

The Parliamentary Support Line, 1800 APH SPT or 1800 274 778 will provide support or referrals to police and other specialist services.

 

The Prime Minister’s decision to put in place this urgent and immediate support for staff is implementing an interim recommendation by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Deputy Secretary Stephanie Foster PSM, ahead of the completion of her final report.

 

This support line is an important step in providing better support to all Parliamentary staffers, their family and friends, whether they work in Parliament House or in electorate offices.

 

“Every Australian has a basic right to feel safe in their workplace. I encourage current and former Commonwealth Parliamentary employees who have experienced a serious incident in the Parliamentary workplace, or who have been affected by the allegations of serious crimes in the past fortnight, to make use of this private and confidential new service,” Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said.

 

“While we have a number of reviews looking closely at these matters—and at the wider systems in place—we recognise the need for urgent support to be put in place as soon as possible.

 

“I want to stress that this is just a first step. This support line will help ensure people get the immediate support they need, including supported referrals to police if required.”   

 

From today, 2 March, 2021 the Parliamentary Support Line will be staffed 24/7 by professionals with training in trauma-informed care, who can provide information, counselling, supported referrals, and assistance in determining pathways to progress complaints.

 

This is a specific and immediate service developed as one option in addition to the range of services already publicly available, such as:

 

  • The police on 000, if you are in fear for your immediate safety, or police services in your jurisdiction if you wish to report a criminal offence.
  • 1800RESPECT, which is available if you or someone you know has experienced sexual, family or domestic violence. Call 1800 737 732 or go to 1800respect.org.au for online counselling, 24 hours a day.
  • The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, or equivalent services in your jurisdiction.
  • MensLine Australia, which is available to men who need help or have concerns about their own behaviour. Call 1300 789 978 or mensline.org.au for around the clock counselling. MensLine Australia is available from anywhere in Australia and is staffed by professional counsellors, experienced in men’s issues.

 

This service is an initial response. The ongoing operation of the service will be considered as part of the independent review of workplace culture that is also being established.

 

The Parliamentary Support Line will be operated by Medibank Health Solutions who also operate 1800RESPECT. It will not have an investigative function and does not replace the need to report criminal offences to the police.

 

More information about the support line is available at Ministerial and Parliamentary Services.

 

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