Ms Sewell said while some of the women would seek financial compensation because of their trauma, the main reason for the legal action was to trigger meaningful changes to how electorate officers were treated.
“A lot of us were in those roles because we care about people and we care about the community, yet we weren’t afforded the same rights as a general member of the public and treated terribly,” she said.
“We’re in 2021, these are archaic ways of thinking that because you work for a member of parliament that somehow it’s like working for a king and you are therefore not entitled to anything and you are a pleb and you will just move on.
“It’s pretty backward and it’s not in the community’s interest at large because it means that members of parliament who we are meant to hold to higher standards are actually given essentially free rein.”
Ms Spalding said she hoped the action would get the party and government to reconsider how it responded to the women’s complaints.
“When the Premier then comes out and says this man has an incredible background as a great contributor to the community, well what about our backgrounds? What about our CV? What about our contribution to our working lives? They just suddenly count for nothing because he is a member of the ALP,” Ms Spalding said.
Ms Spasojevic, who was sacked from Mr Cook’s office in July last year for a “breakdown in trust”, said she was getting involved in the action to bring accountability to members’ offices.
“I want political staffers, in electorate offices and in ministerial offices to have protection. They do not have any protection,” she said.
“The member at a whim basically pulls the plug and he has no accountability, doesn’t have to give you a reason, and what they use is that irretrievable breakdown of the relationship.”
Ms Spasojevic is currently fighting her dismissal in the WA Industrial Relations Commission.
Mr Grabau said he was gathering the facts of each case and expected to request negotiations with the relevant parties in the coming months.
Hamish Hastie is WAtoday’s political reporter.