News – AU – The government re-examines the sexual harassment report as Payne criticizes the scourge in the workplace


The government is taking steps to implement further recommendations from a report on sexual harassment in workplaces it has sat for nearly a year while Secretary of Defense Linda Reynolds was discharged from the hospital

Senator Reynolds has been under pressure for the past two weeks dealing with allegations made by ex-employee Brittany Higgins who raped her in March 2019 by a colleague in the Senator’s office

Defense Secretary Linda Reynolds has been released from hospital after spending two nights under surveillance for a heart conditionCredit: Alex Ellinghausen

She was admitted to a hospital in Canberra Wednesday morning on the advice of her cardiologist over concerns about pre-existing heart disease. She left on Friday morning, a spokeswoman said

Ms. Higgins has now filed a formal police complaint about the attack, and her decision to publish her story has sparked three reviews of work culture and complaint procedures for staff and politicians in the House of Parliament

“We do not need to be reminded, but we have been very, very acutely reminded over the past two weeks of the importance of the work that the Commissioner on Gender Discrimination has done,” she said on Friday

Minister for Women Marise Payne said sexual harassment is a “problem across the Australian workplace”Photo credit: Alex Ellinghausen

The government has been considering since March 2020 the Respect @ Work report by Commissioner for Sexual Discrimination, Kate Jenkins, on sexual harassment in the workplace, which contains 55 recommendations on how to tackle this harassment

Allocated $ 2 million in the October budget for three of the referrals, with the bulk of the funds earmarked for the establishment of a Respect @ Work Council, led by Ms. Jenkins, to provide high-level advice to the government and training resources for employers and their employers are developing employees.The money will also be used for a new online platform with resources on sexual harassment and a national survey in 2022 to collect data on the extent of the problem

Senator Payne said Queensland Senator Amanda Stoker, the new Assistant Secretary General to the Attorney General, has now promoted the government’s response to the other recommendations that were under her jurisdiction

Labor MP Sharon Claydon told the party’s national executive on Friday that she had received “substantial feedback” from MPs and staff on “insufficient support, advice and assistance in the parliamentary environment, particularly in the Treasury and related processes.”

A trade union survey of nearly 100 political workers across the political spectrum in December found that one in eight had been sexually harassed or assaulted in the workplace in the past year, and more than half had experienced workplace bullying and harassment in the past year, and two of them five had experienced it themselves

Ms. Claydon’s task force will present another report in June with suggestions for training for MPs, staff, volunteers and party officials, as well as a roadmap for adapting the rules for individual state branches to the new guidelines

The Labor Federal Executive adopted a new code of conduct and guidelines on bullying, harassment and sexual harassment, as well as a new complaint handling procedure for all members of the party structure, including officials, elected officials, staff and volunteers

Katina Curtis is a political reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age at Parliament House in Canberra

Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton and Linda Reynolds

News – AU – The government re-examines sexual harassment report as Payne criticizes the scourge in the workplace