Australian Politicians, Judges To Be Liable For Sexual Harassment


Australian Politicians, Judges to Be Liable for Sexual Harassment

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 08th April, 2021) Australian government announced on Thursday its plans to amend the Sex Discrimination Act to include government officials and judges, who were exempted before, in the wake of several big workplace harassment cases and mounting public pressure to respond to the 2020 Respect at Work report.

"We will be subject to the same law as anybody else, which means we'll be subject to the same consequences," Attorney-General Michaelia Cash said, as quoted by ABC News.

She also welcomed the changes and noted that sexual harassment should be unacceptable in any context, the news stated.

The Respect at Work report was presented by sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins in January 2020. According to its report findings, almost 40 percent of women and over 20 percent of men have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace over the past five years. To resolve the issues, the authors of the document proposed 55 recommendations.

A bit over a year later, Australian Federal government agreed to adopt 44 of the recommendations in full, five in part and take intro consideration remaining nine. A series of legislative changes aiming to prevent and strengthen protection against workplace harassment will be introduced to the parliament this year.

If the amendments are approved, sexual harassment will be considered "serious misconduct" and can become grounds for dismissal from the government post. Members of parliament, judges and state public servants will also be liable for and protected from sexual harassment in their workplaces.

The decision came amid the countrywide justice for women movement that was triggered by several big sexual assault cases involving members of the government. On March 29, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared a cabinet reshuffle in an attempt to reduce the rising criticism for his poor handling of the situation.