What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 11 – 17 September 2017

Systemic Bias Prevails Over Overt Sexism in Hospitals
The only female heart and lung surgeon in the state has made a call for gender equality in hospitals and workplaces. Dr Nikki Stamp, a surgeon at Fiona Stanley Hospital, said that in recent times a more subtle gender bias had replaced “overt sexism”. Employment processes, for example, tended to favour men over women. In one extreme experience, Dr Stamp recounted a male patient threatened to discharge himself from the Sydney hospital where she worked upon realising he was being cared for by a wholly female medical team. She further said that, “It makes me want to show that our prejudices and biases might not seem like a harmful thing but… result in system biases which will disadvantage”. Dr Stamp’s comments precede the upcoming launch of the Australian Medical Association WA’s campaign and website against sexual harassment in the community.

South Australian School Staff Subjected to Bullying and Intimidation from Department Officials
According to the Australian Education Union, department officials are bullying their school subordinates. The union claims that teachers who question the unreasonable demand for reports are being intimidated, and having their inquiries silenced by officials from the Education Department. Howard Spreadbury, the AEU state president, said that principals were facing “intimidation and expectation” over these incessant calls for school data. Former assistant school principal and union organising co-ordinator, Andre Gohl, said “It is clear that leaders are being bullied by line managers… to get their staff to toe the line – or else”. However, these allegations have been rejected by the Department. The Chief Executive, Rick Persse maintained that, “Workplace bullying or harassment of any kind is not tolerated”.

Australian Catholic University Investigates Claims of Workplace Bullying
The Vice-Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University has written to reassure staff that the university was looking into the allegations of inappropriate staff behaviour made in a series of reports. The investigations, conducted by The Australian, allegedly revealed claims of behaviour including bullying and harassment. However, Greg Craven has labelled them “entirely inaccurate”. Mr Craven further confirmed that, “All claims… are thoroughly investigated… These current investigations have included reviews by independent experts and extensive assessments by external lawyers”.