Canberra Liberals leader Elizabeth Lee on the importance of speaking out about injustice as a woman in leadership – ABC News

Posted: March 21, 2021 at 4:55 pm

For Canberra Liberals Leader Elizabeth Lee, the last few weeks have been "emotionally charged".

Late last year, she decided to go public with claims she'd been sexually harrassed by former High Court Judge Dyson Heydon in 2013.

Mr Heydon has emphatically denied any allegation of sexual harrassment.

Over the past few weeks, she's been reflecting on her decision to speak out, while watching on as women have made allegations of sexual assault, sexism and misogyny at Australia's federal Parliament.

They included Brittany Higgins, a former Liberal staffer who claims she was raped by a colleague in a ministerial office.

When the March 4 Justice protest was held on the lawn of that same building, Ms Lee joined their ranks.

ABC News: Tom Maddocks

Ms Lee said those recent events had reinforced her belief in the importance of women in leadership positions telling their stories.

It was a conviction that was also galvanisedin the aftermath of her accusation against Justice Heydon, when she received an outpouring of support.

"A lot of women who I know and who I don't know, reached out to me and said 'thank you for sharing because a similar experience happened to me and made me realise I'm not alone'," she said.

"As somebody especially from a multicultural background, there is so much stigma attached to coming out and revealing that you've had an experience."

Ms Lee said she wantedto set an example forwomen from diverse backgrounds "to let them know that it's not their fault".

She said too often, people who had experienced sexual harassment or abuse blamed themselves for what had occurred.

"A lot of the time that's where it goes a self-blame game," she said.

From the start, she was aware of the significance of her appointment to the top job.

"There was a lot of interest when I was elected leader of my party. The first woman leader for my party for about 20 years, but also of the female leadership team with my deputy Giulia Jones," she said.

"I think that was really welcomed by the community."

She said she was encouraged by the fact that women were strongly represented in the ACT Legislative Assembly.

"I think it helps enormously, because the public has spoken very loudly that they want to see women in leadership roles," she said.

ABC News: Dylan Anderson

Ms Lee contends there isa big difference between the culture on Capital Hill and what happensup the road at the ACT Legislative Assembly, but she warns no workplace is immune.

"What we've been hearing is just horrific," she said.

"The other thing that we've realised from these instances that have come up is that we can't be complacent in any workplace.

"It's about making sure that our leaders, across the country, across all political parties, know that this is not limited and it's not unique to politics and that we do need to look at this very seriously across the board."

Ms Lee would notbe drawn on whether she thinks there needs to be an inquiry into the allegationagainst Attorney-General Christian Porter, but said she hassince spoken to Prime Minister Scott Morrison about issues for women in parliament.

"He himself actually raised his concerns about what was happening as well," she said.

"So I am under no delusions about the importance of what is happening, the gravity of the situation and that is why politicians from all parties have been very concerned and have expressed that concern."

Read the original post:

Canberra Liberals leader Elizabeth Lee on the importance of speaking out about injustice as a woman in leadership - ABC News

Related Post