Mandatory training for all members of the New South Wales parliament and their staff will be recommended in a “disturbing” report on bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct.
The independent report on the parliament’s workplace culture, by former sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, will also recommend reviews of the way staff can lodge complaints and raise issues, and of the Members of Parliament Staff Act under which staffers are employed.
Sources with knowledge of the report, to be handed down on Friday, told Guardian Australia it painted a “picture of a problematic workplace” and made for “pretty full-on” reading, and included unidentified stories of bullying, sexual harassment and alleged “criminal offences”.
The report also includes “shocking” statistics about instances of bullying and sexual harassment from a survey sent to staff during the probe, as well as a call to review the progress of recommendations in about two years.
It is expected to send further shock waves around parliament after the premier, Dominic Perrottet, last week abruptly dumped the small businesses and fair trading minister, Eleni Petinos, after allegations of an unsafe workplace were reported.
Petinos has repeatedly denied all allegations against her and said she has endeavoured to provide “a professional and safe environment” for staff.
“I would never intentionally offend anyone or make them feel uncomfortable, and if I did I am truly sorry,” Petinos has said in a statement.
The inquiry was commissioned by then premier Gladys Berejiklian and follows a 2021 review into NSW ministerial offices found political ambition, loyalty to ministers, and the tenuous nature of ministerial staff employment meant staff members were reluctant to report issues.
Guardian Australia understands the Broderick report will not include anywhere near the extensive 28 recommendations made by Kate Jenkins’ inquiry into federal parliamentary culture, which was completed in 2021.
A NSW parliament spokesperson said confidential support services had been offered to the “parliamentary community” in the lead-up to the report’s release and would be available into the future.
The review was initially slated for release on Wednesday – in the middle of a sitting week – but was postponed by two days.
An email sent to Macquarie Street staff this week informed them of the change in release date “after receiving a request and further professional advice” that Guardian Australia understands to be around staffers not wanting it to be released while parliament was sitting.
“Our priority is your wellbeing, and that of the survivors of any incidents of bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct,” the email read.
“We want to ensure that you all feel supported and are informed of the review’s impending release.”
The email said the review “does deal with some disturbing and sensitive matters” and encouraged MPs, their staff and immediate family to seek support services if they felt it was necessary.
“It is the joint responsibility of parliamentary leaders, political party leaders, office holders, managers and staff to improve our workplace culture and address the review findings,” the email read.
“We will be consulting with the parliamentary community to address the recommendations to ensure NSW Parliament and electorate offices are safe and respectful places to work.”
The email reminded staff that they could report bullying, sexual misconduct or sexual assault to “either internal or external authorities”.
Perrottet and the opposition leader, Chris Minns, are expected to respond to the report on Friday.