What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 2 – 8 May 2022

Female Football Umpires Abused, Harassed, Forced To Change In Front Of Male Colleagues, Report Finds

The Australian Football League (AFL) issued a formal apology to female and non-binary umpires after a report was released revealing a pattern of sexual harassment. The acting chief executive, Kylie Rogers, encourages anyone who experiences sexism or harassment to report it to the local club or to the AFL. The report was released after a study was conducted by the University of Sydney into the treatment of women and girls as umpires at a lower level in football. Women represent less than 11% of umpires in Australian football and less than 3% at the AFL level. The study showed that female umpires have received unsolicited nude photographs by male umpires, and receive sexually suggestive comments. Other comments commonly received were that women are not good enough to be umpires. The report aimed to find out why women were underrepresented in the umpiring industry. The AFL will not be conducting a culture review and implementing recommendations from external sources.

Indigenous Doctors Call for Cultural Reform In Health Sector To Address Workplace Discrimination

A recent Medical Training Survey included answers from 21,000 doctors, revealing that more than half of Indigenous trainee doctors experience or witness bullying, harassment and discrimination at work. This is much higher than the figure for overall trainees which sits at 35%. The Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association has condemned the disproportionate rates of bullying and discrimination towards First Nations doctors. Dr Simone Raye, the Vice President, believes there is no real structure in hospitals to adequately address the issue. The organisation is calling for reform. Dr Mangatjay McGregor, a Yolngu man, has been particularly vocal about the topic. He is a mental health registrar in Victoria and widely believed to be the first Yolngu doctor from the Northern Territory. He speaks out on his experience being bullied by senior staff at hospitals.

Kate Jenkins Dismisses Claims Sex Discrimination Laws Need to Change to Protect Women’s Sport

Kate Jenkins has rejected comments that Australia needs stricter sporting laws to protect women in sport. Ms Jenkins has said that the Sex Discrimination Act already creates a balance “between fairness and participation” as well as encouraging a “real commitment” to sport being inclusive. Ms Jenkins said she already helped large sporting codes in 2018 and 2019 on the issue, clarifying how to better include trans athletes. Her comments come in response to Prime Minister Scott Morrison supporting Liberal Senator Claire Chandler and candidate Katherine Deves in their stance to exclude transgender people from single-sex sports. Ms Jenkins believes this is not a major concern for sporting groups and that excluding trans athletes based on biological sex is discriminatory.

Ex-One Nation Senator Brian Burston Settles Sexual Harassment Claims by Staffer

The Federal Court has ruled that former One Nation staffer, Wendy Leach, has an arguable case against Brian Burston for sexual harassment. He allegedly made sexual advances towards her, telling her not to tell anyone. The Court concluded in March this year that Mr Burston pay 60% of the applicant, Ms Leach’s, costs. The settling of costs comes after 3 years of legal action on the matter. Ms Leach first came forward with the allegations in February 2019. In September 2019, Pauline Hanson also made claims against Brian Burston, claiming he touched her unwelcomingly and made sexual advances towards her.

Recent Changes to The Conduct Rules: Anti-Discrimination and Harassment

The Australian Solicitor’s Conduct Rules have been amended, with the changes coming into effect in April 2022. The amendments came after a recent review conducted by the Law Council of Australia. In particular, Rule 42 has been changed to implement a higher standard of conduct for legal practice. It explicitly states that bullying, discrimination and harassment (particularly sexual harassment) are unacceptable for members of the legal profession. This rule applies to any conduct that occurs in any setting related to the practice of law.