Vic Labor urged to change inner culture

Victorian Labor delegates at the state conference have been urged to change a culture of bullying.
Victorian Labor delegates at the state conference have been urged to change a culture of bullying.

Outgoing Victorian Labor Party president Hutch Hussein has called out sexual harassment and a bullying culture within the party during her last speech in office.

Ms Hussein has called for a "change of culture" within the ranks after more than 15 people had lodged complaints with Victorian Labor.

She told the party's annual conference in Melbourne on Sunday that outcomes for those complainants had included written apologies while alleged offenders had their membership suspended, with one "no longer having the privilege of being in our party".

However, the party's Code of Conduct should be "not just a policy, but a change of culture", Ms Hussein said.

"This needs to be a party where everyone is welcome and everyone feels included and safe to participate," she said.

"I want us to be a party where it's not the victims who suffer and leave after a negative experience, but it's the perpetrators who suffer the consequences and leave if necessary."

One case referred to "four women who dreaded any phone, email or face-to-face contact with a branch member because he constantly left them shaken by fear and tears when he lost his temper", she said.

She called on party members to "pledge to speak up", stand up and call out inappropriate behaviour.

Australian Associated Press