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Premier silent on ministerial office misconduct claims

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will not detail sexual misconduct and bullying complaints involving ministerial offices other than to say they do not involve sexual assault.

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She said the Department of Premier and Cabinet was investigating two matters but declined to detail the nature of the complaints.

“I can’t go into who they were, but I can say that neither were (in) relation to sexual assault and both are being looked at independently by the department,” she said.

The cases have surfaced amid intense media scrutiny of how state and federal governments are dealing with sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the wake of the Brittany Higgins rape allegations.

Nine News and Seven have obtained new figures showing Queensland public servants are facing sexual misconduct and bullying on a daily basis but disciplinary action is rare.

Public servants reportedly made more than 140 complaints of inappropriate sexual conduct last financial year.

In response to those complaints, 21 workers were suspended, one was suspended without pay and six employees were terminated.

On Thursday, Palaszczuk said she would appoint a new equity officer to oversee complaints of bullying and sexual misconduct in the public service.

She said the statistics were good news in a way, because they showed public servants were willing to report alleged misconduct.

“The good news is that people are reporting,” the premier said, while again demanding a national summit to deal with gender inequity and sexual harassment in the workplace.

“What I’m concerned about is that there could be thousands of women out there in other workplaces that aren’t reporting.”

“Once again, these are issues I believe should be addressed at a national women’s summit.”

Asked if a national summit was needed, shadow Treasurer David Janetzki said any move to improve diversity and equality would be encouraged.

“Anything that is put on the table will certainly be considered by us,” he said.

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