Australia Sexual harassment to be grounds for dismissal under new laws
No one thinks they need sexual harassment education, so how do we make it work?
Government-funded sexual harassment training is the easy part – making men receptive to it is much harder.On the surface, this seems like a good thing. But overlaying harassment education in environments and workplaces that are already hostile can sometimes make sexual harassment worse, leading to victim blaming, increased inequality and backlash.
The Federal Government says it will work to reform laws and regulations around sexual assault in response to a report on workplace harassment.
Under the proposed changes, sexual harassment will be grounds for dismissal from a workplace, while the scope of the Sex Discrimination Act will be extended to include judges and MPs.
The Human Rights Act will also be amended to allow victims two years to come forward, instead of the current six months.
The government is also looking to add sexual harassment in the definition of serious misconduct to the Fair Work Act.
In the fight against sexual violence, what can Australians demand?
The fight against sexual violence in Australia seems at times insurmountable. But there are ways forward, and Australia must take them.This series has focused on how simply being aware and calling out harassment will never lead to change. Getting in the ear of politicians — local MPs, policymakers and the government — with specific demands is crucial to overhaul our pervasive culture of sexual violence and Australia’s worsening inequality.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Attorney General Michaelia Cash outlined the changes as part of 55 recommendations the government is endorsing either in part or full from its Respect@Work report.
The report was released last January and the government adopted nine of its recommendations at the time.
However, today it responded to the report for a second time.
It comes after the first meeting of the new women's cabinet taskforce, which was established.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Morrison referenced statistics from the Australian Human Rights Commission, which said 39 per cent of women and 26 per cent of men have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.
Burying the lede
Good morning, early birds. Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith allegedly buried USB sticks filled with damning photographs and evidence of potential war crimes, and Scott Morrison has claimed there are too many uncertainties at play for the government to outline a new COVID-19 vaccination schedule. It's the news you need to know, with Chris Woods.The cache shows an Australian soldier placing two military souvenir coins over the eyes of a killed Afghani man — credible evidence of the war crime of desecrating a corpse, former defence force chief Chris Barrie says — as well as several damning photographs from the unauthorised “Fat Ladies Arms” bar in Tarin Kowt, southern Afghanistan, including: a soldier
"The events around this building over the course of the past few months have only further highlighted and reinforced the seriousness of these issues, the challenge that we face and the great frustration that is felt by Australians and, in particular, women all over the country," Mr Morrison said.
"Sexual harassment is unacceptable.
"It's not only immoral and despicable and even criminal, but particularly in the context of the respect at work report, it denies Australians, especially women, not just their personal security but their economic security by not being safe at work."
We all feel the anger and the energy — the need for change. Let’s not waste it .
Petitions and anger can only get a movement so far. This massive reckoning needs something more.You’d be forgiven for thinking the alternative, that change is afoot. We’ve had women coming forward en masse to disclose their allegations of sexual assault. Students have called out harassment and abuse in high schools. Universities have introduced consent courses. Laws gagging sexual assault victims have been overturned. We’ve had an inquiry into Parliament’s workplace announced. The Australian of the Year is a sexual assault survivor.