What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 28 August – 3 September 2017

Workplace Culture Dashboard to Target Workplace Harassment
White Ribbon Australia is set to launch its unique Workplace Culture Dashboard in response to ABS and AHRC statistics indicating that 1 in 5 women face workplace harassment. The new initiative is the result of a Workplace Accreditation Program conducted by KPMG since 2012. This program collected 150,000 responses from 160 organisations across Australia, with a view to providing an insight into behavioural changes in organisations. The dashboard will create profiles around employees’ understanding of violence against women, their own attitudes, culture and the role of the bystander. According to Libby Davies, the CEO of White Ribbon, it will “allow businesses… to further understand the importance of comprehensive workplace programs that target specific cultures and behaviours”. One respondent noted: ‘I think that as people are educated on the various forms of violence against women it changes their thinking and behaviour”.

Australian Olympic Committee’s Mike Tancred Cleared of Workplace Bullying
The media director of the Australian Olympic Committee, Mike Tancred, has been cleared of bullying allegations but suspended on full pay. This comes as a result of an independent investigation into four complaints against him, which included his threatening to “kill” a British citizen on a working visa and harassing a woman who had miscarried at the Beijing Olympics. The independent committee, comprised of High Court Justice Ian Callinan and NSW District Court Judge Greg James, found that none of the complaints had been “made out on an objective basis”. Mr Tancred has responded to the inquiry, saying that, “there is no toxic culture at the AOC”. It would appear that Mr Tancred is set to lose his position notwithstanding the positive result.

Federal Career Transition Assistance Program Will Lead the Change Against Age Discrimination in the Workplace
The Federal Government has announced that it will trial its Career Transition Assistance Program from 1 July 2018. The program, set to be trialled in Ballarat, Somerset, Central West, Adelaide and Perth, will aim to prepare older people for new jobs. As part of a $110 million Mature Age Employment Package that was revealed in the 2017/18 federal budget, the program will help older workers to strengthen their skills, resilience, learn new job search techniques and could opt to receive computer and IT training. Despite approving of the idea, Ian Yates, the Chief Executive of the Council on the Ageing Australia, voiced concerns that workers may still be “locked out” of jobs as a result of the complexity of age discrimination issues. He said, “The government must take initiative, working with the sector, to lead the cultural and attitudinal change that Australia needs if it is to capitalise on its ageing population”.