Local Media


August 11, 2021

An Albanese Labor Government will fully implement all 55 recommendations of the Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s ground-breaking [email protected] Report.
Federal Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann said he was disappointed Scott Morrison had failed to act to help keep Australians safe from sexual harassment at work.
“Back in April, Scott Morrison promised he would adopt every recommendation in the [email protected] Report, “Mr Neumann said.
“Sadly, he has not delivered on that promise.”

“Mr Morrison has presented a Bill to Parliament in response to the Report. As it stands, his Bill is nowhere near strong enough to deliver the legislative changes proposed by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner.
“It’s up to Labor to seek amendments to the Bill to make it more substantive.”

Labor’s amendments to the Federal Government’s Bill, include:
• Changing the Fair Work Act to explicitly prohibit sexual harassment;
• Introducing a positive duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment happening in the first place;
• Making substantive equality between women and men one of the objects of the Sex Discrimination Act;
• Allowing unions or other organisations to bring legal action against perpetrators on behalf of complainants; and
• Establishing cost protections for complainants, so they aren’t discouraged from taking legal action against perpetrators due to the possibility of having to pay massive court-ordered legal costs.
“If the Government refuses to work with us on these sensible changes, a future Labor Government will work with the Workplace Sexual Harassment Council, employers, workers, unions, and legal experts to finalise and implement stronger laws as a matter of priority,” he said.

“The [email protected] Report clearly says Australia’s existing laws are out-of-date, failing to protect workers, and that reform is urgently needed.”

After commissioning the work in 2018, the Morrison Government ignored the final [email protected] report for over a year, leaving it to gather dust on the desk of former Attorney General, Christian Porter. It should not have taken this long.

The Sex Discrimination Commissioner herself has described the Federal Government’s weak response to her Report as a “missed opportunity.”

In the past five years, one in three people experienced sexual harassment at work, including two in five women. This widespread workplace harassment costs the Australian economy $3.5 billion a year. It must stop.