What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 21 – 27 August 2017

Arms Manufacturers Permitted Exemptions Under Racial Discrimination Laws
Accusations of discrimination have been levelled at the NSW Government for allowing arms manufacturers to discriminate against their workers based on their citizenship. Global defence companies, such as Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, have been permitted exemptions from racial discrimination laws, in order to comply with US export restrictions aimed at safeguarding American weapons technology knowledge. These exemptions, similar forms of which have appeared in Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria, the ACT and South Australia, give these manufacturing companies the permission to reject, fire or transfer job applicants based on their country of birth or foreign citizenship. Simon Rice, expert in discrimination and law at the University of Sydney, has said these exemptions are the “worst kind of cultural imperialism, making Australian law subservient to US regulations”. However, the NSW attorney general noted that, “strict controls are in place… to safeguard against unwarranted discrimination”.

Male Champions of Change Commit to Closing the Gender Pay Gap
Influential male Australian business, government and sporting leaders have signed their commitment to addressing the gender pay gap in the Closing the Gender Pay Gap Report. The 120 influential “Male Champions of Change” include Qantas chief Alan Joyce, Telstra chief Andrew Penn and CSIRO chief Larry Marshall. Through this enterprise, they seek to work towards equal pay for equal work in “like-for-like roles”. This stands in contrast to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, which measures the average gender pay gap (currently at 15.3%) based on male and female pay rates within an entire organisation. Signatory to the report and managing director of Lendlease, Steve McCann, said that, “Having regular, scrutinised and actioned reporting is a game-changer – real-time access to relevant data becomes hard to ignore and demands action”.

Australian Olympic Committee’s Workplace Culture Scrutinised After Allegations of Bullying
An independent review by the Ethics Centre into the Australian Olympic Committee’s (AOC) workplace culture has recommended it needs to “rebuild trust”. The review was initially prompted by claims of workplace bullying, of which there has been “no confirmation” according to President Coates. However, it did find that staff considered the organisation “out of step” and “the most dysfunctional organisation [they] had worked for”. The report produced 17 recommendations to improve AOC’s workplace culture, all of which it has said it would implement.