Australian Unions has joined together with a diverse group of organisations representing women’s rights to demand the Morrison Government deliver real safety at work for women.
“Talk is not enough. What we want to see from the Federal government is action that will make work safe for women,” said ACTU President Michelle O’Neil, speaking at the launch of Safe Work 4 Women statement.
The Safe Work 4 Women statement outlines key changes to legislation aimed at eliminating sexual violence and harassment at work. It is supported by the ACTU, the Parenthood, the Shift to Gender Equality, 50/50 by 2030, Gen Vic, Per Capita and Professor Sara Charlesworth from RMIT University.
Last month, thousands took to the street as part of the March 4 Justice , calling for Government action against the sexual violence faced every day by women in Australia.
A key demand of March 4 Justice was the full implementation of the 55 recommendations in the Respect@Work Report. But the Morrison Government continues to drag its heels on taking meaningful action.
“The failure of the Federal Government to properly respond to the Respect@Work report is devastating for so many women who thought the last few months would have led to real change,” added O’Neil.
The Safe Work 4 Women group is asking the Morrison Government to commit to meaningful change in these four areas:
1. Stronger work health and safety laws to make sure that employers are obliged to tackle the underlying causes of sexual harassment at work.
2. Better access to justice for workers in our workplace laws by prohibiting sexual harassment in the Fair Work Act and providing a quick, easy, new complaints process, and providing 10 days paid family and domestic leave as a national minimum employment standard.
3. Stronger powers for the Sex Discrimination Commissioner to make her own decisions to investigate industries and workplaces which are rife with sexual harassment, and positive duties on employers to take steps to eliminate sexual harassment.
4. Ratification of the 2019 ILO Convention on the elimination of violence and harassment at work.
The group identifies the upcoming meeting of Commonwealth, State and Territory Work Health and Safety Ministers in May as a test of whether this Government will vote to support change so employers are obliged to prevent sexual harassment.
“There are many discussions happening at the moment. There’s a lot of talk, but what women in Australia need is action that will actually make them safer and importantly, put obligations also on employers to prevent sexual harassment,” said O’Neil.
“We cannot have all of the burden of this resting on the shoulders of women that are then put in a position to have to make complaints”.