Glenn Lazarus: Palmer ‘bullying’ wasn’t pleasant
FORMER senator Glenn Lazarus has opened up about how the bullying he claims to have faced from the senior ranks of the Palmer United Party affected his mental health.
The rugby league legend and one-time politician told news.com.au the treatment he endured as a senator under Clive Palmer "wasn't pleasant".
"Being bullied into saying and doing things that possibly you didn't entirely agree with was always an issue," he said. "That became a lot easier when I was an independent."
Mr Lazarus made the comments at a Sydney event where he helped launch a workplace mental health program for managers.
Speaking at the Workplace Mental Health Institute event, Mr Lazarus opened up about experiencing depression after leaving rugby league, and the mental health problems he was exposed to when he became a federal senator for Queensland.
"When I was a senator, I spoke about my issues in the chamber, and I dealt with a lot of people that were dealing with mental health," he said.
"People need help. You would hear stories about parents taking their child to a hospital because they're so concerned the child's going to kill themselves, and the way that they dealt with that child was very concerning to the parents."
The former senator said he regularly heard from advocacy groups and constituents whose mental health had been affected by workplaces that failed to foster a professional environment that encouraged positivity and good mental health.
Mr Lazarus said he became intolerant of workplace bullying during his time in the Palmer United Party.
"I struggled when people bully other people where I can see it happening, and unfortunately that was happening quite a bit and I was experiencing it myself," he said.
Mr Lazarus resigned from the Palmer United Party in 2015 amid accusations both he and his wife, a former parliamentary secretary with the PUP, had been bullied by the party's leader.
Tess Lazarus, who was also at today's event, released a statement after she was dismissed from the party in 2015 saying she told Clive Palmer she "was not happy with being bullied and spoken to using foul language".
After his resignation, Mr Lazarus said in a radio interview he "could only cop so much bullying".
At the time, Mr Palmer admitted that he would swear but denied bullying claims, entering into a war words with Tess and Glenn Lazarus regarding their performances while with PUP.
The Australian Workplace Mental Health Masterclass for Leaders which Mr Lazarus was launching was developed by the WMHI to help organisations across Australia to address and manage mental health issues in the workplace.
The institute's founder Pedro Diaz said at the launch he had been drawn to attracting managers with the program because workers he had consulted with t
old him their bosses were not interested in mental health.
He said the number of people who told him they think their "manager is a psychopath" had led him to want to train managers to better understand mental health.
"Most of the managers we spoke to, once they understood how to do mental health properly, they were really nice people, compassionate people ... they understand there is a better way of doing things," he said. "That's why we've made it our life mission and our professional mission to train management."
Mr Lazarus said it made sense for managers to invest in mental health.
"We spend a lot of time and a lot of money dealing with the physical side of workplace safety, but he mental health side, we're still reluctant," he said.
If you or anyone you know needs help, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.