This is the first in a five-part series where we recap the Morrison government’s decisions for working women and their alarming consequences
When it comes addressing to sexual violence in this country, we have been long past the ‘let’s have a conversation’ stage.
At the start of 2020, the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work report provided our political leaders with concrete solutions to put into motion.
The report found a high prevalence of sexual violence in Australian workplaces, with a third of workers surveyed reporting having experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment during a five-year period.
The report also produced 55 recommendations for the Federal Government to address the concerns raised in the report.
Key recommendations included extending women’s rights and employer obligations to prevent harassment.
The first move of the Morrison Government was none at all. They ignored the report for 12 months while it languished on a desk.
Their second step – only after being shamed into action – was a promise to implement all the recommendations “wholly, in part, or in principle.”
The final Morrison Government move was to vote for a bill that implemented merely six of the recommendations. Six. Out of 55.
The burden was left on the shoulders on women who were still required to initiate complex and lengthy complaints processes to resolve instances of sexual violence at their own cost and risk.
The Liberal Government together with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation has continued to leave workers in abusive relationship out in the cold.
Both parties opposed an amendment to include ten days paid Family and Domestic Violence leave in the National Employment Standards.
The Respect@Work report and responding Bill was a straightforward opportunity for the Morrison Government to deliver real, concrete action to address systemic workplace issues.
Tragically, the only thing delivered was more lip service.
And as our Morrison Missing report shows, the Government still needs to implement the Respect@Work report recommendations – now more than two years on from when the report was released.
Unions have been on the front foot for women’s rights in the workplace and the Morrison Missing report serves as a reminder to our political leaders how much they owe working women.
While the Government is busy breaking promises to half the population, union members look out for each other’s wellbeing and safety.
All union members also have access to advice and legal representation. It’s like a safety net – you pay small, regular membership dues, but you’re covered big time if something does go wrong.
Because we believe care for co-workers means genuine action, not a smile and empty words.