What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 18 – 24 December 2017

South Australian Local Government Councillor Accused of Workplace Harassment and Bullying
A local government councillor of Burnside in South Australia has expressed his intention to resign if allegations that he bullied his staff are dropped. An independent mediator’s report alleges that Lance Bagster harassed, stalked and bullied his colleagues, following which a number of complaints were lodged against him. He has strenuously denied these accusations. The Magistrates Court has permitted an interim intervention order against Mr Bagster, which has effectively prevented him from attending meetings since September 2017. In the email outlining his will to leave, he stated that he wanted “nothing more to do with council”.

Accusations of Sexual Harassment Follow Melbourne Lord Mayor
The Lord Mayor of Melbourne is set to take one’s month’s leave while accusations of sexual harassment, indecent assault and misconduct in the workplace are investigated. The council allegedly received a complaint based on incidents of Robert Doyle assaulting multiple victims. Only two days prior to his announcement, fellow councillor, Tessa Sullivan, resigned, claiming to have experienced “repeated sexual harassment which had made [her] workplace intolerable”. She describes having been “grasped on the breast” and subjected to explicit remarks. Dr Ian Freckleton QC will independently investigate in “accordance with natural justice”.

AFL Set to Investigate Sexual Harassment Claims
The AFL will investigate an allegation of sexual harassment as part of a breach of their respect and responsibility policy. It indicated that it “welcomes an investigation into the complaint and will fully cooperate”. Louise Evans, from Women in Sport, explained that, “The sports know they have a lot of work to do to continue to clean up their backyard and they know in the past, sexual harassment has occurred… and people in positions of power have turned a blind eye”. According to Ms Evans, this incident, in conjunction with the October suspension of Richmond player, Nathan Broad, and earlier resignation of executives, Richard Simkiss and Simon Lethlean, is evidence of a “long-awaited correction that is occurring” in the industry.