What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 16 – 22 July 2018

Federal MP Accused of Harassing Staff
NSW Labor has launched an investigation into allegations that a federal MP harassed her staff. Emma Husar, MP of the electorate of Lindsay, is said to have maintained working conditions described by one staffer as “hell”. They have accused her of forcing them to walk her dog and clean up after it, with one male staff member alleging he was made to do the washing to understand “white male privilege”. NSW Labor declined to comment; however, Ms Husar is said to be “horrified” at the accusations. She has maintained that her “office is a professional and respectful workplace”.

Worksafe Vic. Charges Police for Bullying
WorkSafe Victoria has brought unprecedented charges against Victoria Police for workplace bullying. The bullying, which allegedly took place in 2016, included verbal abuse and threats against police officers in a police station in Melbourne’s southeast. They have additionally charged a senior detective from the Monash Criminal Investigation Unit for two bullying offences. He has since been transferred to another station while awaiting trial. WorkSafe will examine two officers who claim to have witnessed the behaviour. Concerning the investigation, one officer said that, “[s]ome people in the organisation see bullying and intimidation as a management style… But it’s 2018 and times have changed. We’re supposed to be professionals, not doing things like they were the old days”.

Study Reveals NSW LGBTIQ Teachers Harassed and Discriminated
The widespread nature of workplace discrimination against LGBTIQ teachers in NSW has come to light in a NSW Teachers Federation Annual Conference. At the conference, Dr Jacqueline Ullman spoke about a joint study she conducted with the Federation and Western Sydney University. Through the study of more than 1000 teachers in the state, she found that approximately 42% reported experiencing harassment or discrimination based on LGBTIQ bias. According to the research, the most common experiences of discrimination were staff and student comments at school, followed by instances of bullying, lack of support and denying teachers professional opportunities. While one quarter said they had reported to more senior staff, only 8% claimed this had led to any satisfactory outcome. The study also found this level of discrimination had a great impact on the psychological wellbeing of teachers, with one third admitting to having sought external support. Maurie Mulheron, the president of the NSW Teachers Federation, said that the “Department has a responsibility to provide safe and supportive workplaces for all teachers… current teacher wellbeing policies do not sufficiently account for the specific needs of LGBTIQ staff”.