NO SEX, THANKS; WE’RE MINISTERS – This reform is proudly sponsored by Canberra hookers:
Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has banned sexual relationships between Commonwealth ministers and their staff, saying deputy PM Barnaby Joyce “made a shocking error of judgement” in having an affair with a staffer 17 years his junior.
Turnbull said the current ministerial code of conduct was “truly deficient” and “does not speak strongly enough” on workplace values of respect and “workplaces where women are respected”.
“The truth is as we know, is most of the ministers, most of the bosses in this building if you like, are men and there is a gender, a real gender perspective here,” he said.
I wrote about the phenomenon of parliamentary dangerous liaisons a few days ago. I remain sceptical of the impact any such “ban” will have in real life. For starters, it only applies to some 30 out of more than 220 Members and Senators, albeit clearly the ones who are the subject to most scrutiny and biggest expectations. But lust and love are not so easily controlled, and even if advisers are now supposedly off limits, the attentions might simply be redirected at less proximate targets – journalists, lobbyists, assorted political hangers-on. You can’t hurry love, and you can’t banish it either, considering none of the circumstances that make it so common in Canberra have changed in any way, ban or no ban.