Anika Wells, a Labor MP for Lilley, Brisbane, just casually revealed that a committee chairman allegedly made an extremely uncomfortable comment about her physical appearance in a meeting this week.
In a TikTok where fellow MP Julian Hill asked Wells what the worst thing was that happened in Parliament this week, she claimed that a committee chairman allegedly called her a “good looking Shiela” right in the middle of a meeting.
“In a committee meeting last week, the chair whom I otherwise rate as very decent and hard-working, stopped what he was doing and said, ‘You know Anika, I just have to tell you, you are such a good looking Sheila’”, she said.
Side note: how are there still (allegedly) men in politics who think these kind of comments are okay in 2021?
“The secretariat [who was writing the minutes for this meeting] didn’t know how to respond and look to me for guidance,” she continued.
“I just laughed it off… I’ve got lots of people who I can laugh it off with and support me, so I feel lucky in that respect but yeah, probably the least desirous thing of the fortnight so far.”
Wells and Hill added in the clip that while the workplace in politics is not “as bad as it’s represented in TV”, actions like that are “kind of not on”.
Wells previously roasted the federal government in Parliament by comparing policies and things said by Liberal federal politicians to Betoota Advocate headlines.
Claims like Wells’ are yet another reminder of why more work needs to be done in preventing sexual misconduct in workplaces, because “laughing off” comments like these could potentially enable this kind of alleged behaviour.
In a statement shared exclusively with PEDESTRIAN.TV, Anika Wells said: “Many women have had the same experience at work that I did last week. In my case, I was a bit surprised and in that moment, I didn’t really know what to say – so I laughed it off, as many women do.
“That doesn’t mean I condone the behaviour, nor welcomed it, nor thought it was funny.
“Women aren’t responsible for policing and changing mens’ behaviour. Men are responsible for changing their own behaviour.”
Help is available. If you require immediate assistance or believe your life is in danger, please call 000.
If you’d like to speak to someone about sexual violence, please call the 1800 Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online.
Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.