What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 25 December 2023 – 31 December 2023

New South Wales Mental Health Commission Allegedly Has ‘Toxic Workplace Culture’

The New South Wales Mental Health Commission, which is responsible for improving the state’s mental health and wellbeing, is facing a “disastrous” employee survey which revealed that it is “one of the unhappiest workplaces in the public service.” The workplace culture involves bullying and micromanagement, with the decreasing morale outlined in the latest People Matter Employee Survey. Several employees have described the commission as “the worst workplace [they’ve] ever experienced”. One staff member said that “the commission has a widespread and well-known poor and toxic culture” and that “there is a joke amongst employees that if you didn’t have a mental health condition before working there, you will after, and sadly in most cases this is true, [as I’ve] seen many people destroyed by their experiences at the commission.” A spokesperson for the commission said that “the NSW government expects every workplace, but especially those tasked with the mental health of people in our state to be treating people with respect and creating a safe and inclusive workplace.”

Leaked Survey Shows Workplace Cultural Issues Continue at Australian Antarctic Division

A recent leaked internal survey has shown the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) still has a significant task to overcome practices which have resulted in staff feeling unsafe at work. The survey has shown that approximately one third of female respondents had experienced or seen harmful behaviours, such as bullying, harassment and exclusion in the past three months, but they had chosen to not formally report it. Approximately 45% of the respondents said that they had no confidence in the AAD’s reporting systems, while 42% were concerned about career repercussions. 30% reported that it was “easier to keep quiet”. The survey, which took place in October as well as early November, was the first of a series of quarterly “pulse” checks which the AAD is implementing to track how its reforms are performing. The AAD said in response to the survey that “while leaders have been communicating well, and acknowledging their awareness that significant cultural challenges need to be addressed, they may not be visible enough and are not seen as creating a substantial difference in practices”.

RMIT University Professor Andrew Timming Claims Unfair Dismissal Over Free Speech

Professor Andrew Timming has alleged that he was dismissed by RMIT University earlier this month as a result of a response to a social media post he made in December 2022. The former human resource management professor has taken the university to the Fair Work Commission, claiming he was bullied and unlawfully dismissed by his employer. The tweet was made in relation to a comment made by Greta Thunberg against Andrew Tate, in which Ms Thunberg said “yes, please do enlighten me. Email me at smalldickenergy@getalife.com”. Professor Timming asked why Ms Thunberg was praised, stating that he believed the comment was a sex-based double standard. He said that “demeaning sexual jokes when directed from a woman to a man” and included emojis of a smiley and winky face. In the second sentence, he said “demeaning sexual jokes when directed from a man to a woman” and included a bomb, skull and crossbones emoji. In a statement released from the Free Speech Union Australia, Professor Timming said that “universities are failing in their duty to uphold freedom of speech and workplace rights, including the right to make a complaint.”

Bruce Lehrmann Defamation Judge Orders Publisher of YouTube Channel to Appear in Federal Court

The judge who presided over the Bruce Lehrmann defamation case has ordered the publisher of a YouTube channel to appear in the Federal Court and show cause as to why proceedings for contempt should not be brought against him. The defamation hearing was livestreamed, but Justice Lee issued a warning at the start of each day of the hearing that the live stream was provided for members of the public to “observe and listen” to the hearing and that, viewers were “prohibited from making any recording or photographic record of the hearing”, and failure to comply could constitute contempt of court.
However, a channel called Feminism Debunked released nine videos of the live streams. Justice Michael Lee has named that Glenn Logan is the publisher of these videos and has ordered that he appear in court on February 13, 2024.

Bruce Lehrmann has sued Network Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson in relation to an interview on The Project involving Brittany Higgins. Ms Higgins had first alleged that she was raped in Parliament House during this interview. A criminal trial against Mr Lehrmann was abandoned last year due to juror misconduct. No findings have been made against Mr Lehrmann and he has consistently maintained his innocence.