What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 21 – 27 May 2018

Trainee Resigns Due to Alleged Bullying
A trainee firefighter with Airservices Australia has resigned after experiencing its toxic bullying culture. Lisa Madsen, a former paramedic, had made it through nine weeks of the fifteen-week training course with the aviation safety organisation. However, she resigned before its completion after being the victim of what she says was bullying by two instructors. She claims that they called her and the other trainees “disgraceful” names, such as, “fat f**ks”, “retards”, “dumb s**ts” and “spastics”. Former fellow student Belinda Davies similarly said the things they “called students and the intimidation tactics they used were inappropriate”. Ms Davies reported her issues internally but was told merely to “suck it up”. Airservices Australia would not divulge how many complaints of bullying they had received but claimed to “take staff behaviour extremely seriously”. It was “confident that this was an isolated incident”.

Investigation into Alleged Homophobic Culture in NSW Police Force
Lawyers for NSW Police have submitted their closing arguments to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, in an ongoing case of alleged homophobic bullying within the state police force. Three male police officers and a former officer from Newtown police station claim they were the subjects of an internal inquiry into allegedly “illicit drug use” in 2016 because they were gay. The investigation, labelled Andro, lasted for six months. They claim that Andro was an example of a wider culture of homophobia and bullying, given that there was no “direct evidence of [their] drug use” or such “misconduct”. Indeed, in the original complaint lodged against the men, Superintendent Hardman wrote that they were “notorious for their promiscuity… [and]… loose morals”, and that “[d]rug use is… fundamental in such indiscriminate sexual encounters”. One of the officers, Christian McDonald, also claims that after having injured his head on a pavement, a manager told him he “should be used to having [his] head down arse up in the concrete”. Another, Christopher Sheehy, similarly claims to have received “homophobic… and derogatory comments” from senior officers. Lawyers for NSW Police argued that the “nature of the allegations do not rise to a demonstration of some sort of culture of discrimination”. The case will continue into August.

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