What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 13 March 2023 – 19 March 2023

Bruce Lehrmann Testifies before Federal Court

Last week, Bruce Lehrmann testified before the Federal Court in relation to an extension of time application. According to the article, the extension of time application is typically required to be filed within a year of the allegedly defamatory publications. Lehrmann’s barrister Steven Whybrow SC stated that the defamatory case was not commenced earlier due to the “criminal proceeding, legal advice he received from Mr Korn, and his own mental health.” In a series of text messages sent to his then girlfriend, Mr Lehrmann claimed that that he could be up for “millions” in defamation. However, Lehrmann admitted under cross-examination that he was only “placating (her) because she was distraught.” The hearing is set to continue before Justice Lee later this month.

Workplace Gender Equality Agency Releases New Report

On 17 March 2023, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) released a media statement detailing the WGEA progress report for the 2020 to 2022 period. According to the media statement, while the world-leading gender equality reporting program has helped gender equality in Australia, “further initiatives are needed for continued momentum.” The statement highlighted that 77.7% of employers have a “overall policy or strategy” implemented to support gender equality, a 0.8% increase from last year. However, the report also reports that there had been no reduction in the gender pay gap for the first time. Director of WGEA Mary Wooldridge stated that while the report served as a world-leading dataset, “the slowing pace of change signals the need for a renewed approach.”