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Liberals launch party’s first sexual harassment, social media code

Liberal Party members face being hauled before third-party investigators and committees for sexual harassment, insults, or posts on social media under the first national code of conduct in the party’s history.

The code, which was sent to more than 80,000 members on Friday afternoon following 18 months of consultation by former federal president Chris McDiven and former federal director Brian Loughnane comes after accusations of bullying, sexual harassment and assault within the party.

Former Liberal Party director Brian Loughnane.

Former Liberal Party director Brian Loughnane. Credit: Louise Kennerley 

The code formalises myriad state guidelines and opens the door to members being kicked out of the party by committees for discriminating against other members on the basis of race, religion, or sexual preference. Members, including government ministers, can also be punished for vilification, bullying and sexual harassment.

Sexually suggestive behaviour such as leering or staring, brushing up against someone, explicit posts on social media or via text messages and displaying offensive screen savers could also be subject to a formal process.

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