Politicians and judges are subject to the same sexual harassment law as the wider population under the major workplace reforms announced by the federal government.
Sexual harassment will formally be the reason for the dismissal under the recommendations endorsed by the Australian Government in its long-awaited response to the Respect @ Work report.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Thursday that his government would accept all 55 recommendations in the report on workplace harassment, in whole, in part or in principle.
The report was the culmination of an 18-month study conducted by the Sexism Commission Kate Jenkinson to investigate the nature and prevalence of sexual harassment in the Australian workplace.
Jenkins handed the report to the government in January last year, but the government has been slow to respond to the findings and has recently been the subject of scrutiny.
Morrison said the government’s response to the report was about changing the Australian workplace to keep everyone safe.
“Sexual harassment is unacceptable,” he told Canberra reporters Thursday.
“Not only is it immoral, sneaky and even criminal, but especially in the context of the Respect @ Work report, it denies Australians, especially women, not only personal security but also economic security.”
He described this behavior as “immoral” and sneaky, stating that there was a risk of denying women both personally and financially.
“When we tackle these issues, it’s important not to do it in a way that makes Australians conflict with each other,” he said.
Morrison and Attorney General Michaelia Cash addressed the media Thursday, revealing the government’s response to the report.
Senator Cash said the report found that the framework for dealing with workplace harassment was “complex” and “difficult to navigate” for workers and employers.
She said the government’s response wanted to “simplify” and “strengthen” the legal framework for addressing concerns about workplace harassment.
“Our aim is not only to reduce complexity, but also to strengthen the national framework for dealing with sexual harassment,” she told reporters.
The definition of serious illegal activity in all workplaces has also been changed to include sexual harassment. This means that this is a valid reason for dismissal.
Under the proposed reforms, judges and politicians will be subject to the same sexual harassment law as the wider population. Previously, these provisions were exempt.
Under human rights law, the scope of complaints is extended from 6 months to 2 years to give victims more time to move forward.
Mr. Cash said the government intends to implement a series of “legislative and regulatory reforms” to strengthen the national framework for dealing with sexual harassment.
The government is responding to the investigation as Canberra faces great pressure to tackle women’s safety after being upset by recent rape and sexual harassment allegations.
The timing of the government’s response also appears to be related to attempts to reset its approach to women’s problems in the political collapse of these concerns.
Morrison said the events of the last few months have increased the need to address concerns about the workplace and sexual harassment.
“It all starts with rudeness,” he said.
“It starts there. I insist on not only disrespecting women, but disrespecting the end.”
The Gender Discrimination Commission reports that 39% of women and 26% of men have recently experienced sexual harassment at work.
“This is unacceptable,” Cash said.
Morrison said the government last year responded to nine of its 20 federal liability recommendations.
The federal government will work in consultation with states and territories on addressing other recommendations in the report.
Many legislative changes will be required to implement the reforms.
Morrison said he promised to take action towards this by at least the end of June.
“But I think it’s important in sensitive laws like those we engage in drafting that law to consult about it,” he said.