What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 29 June 2020 – 5 July 2020

Recent Survey Shows Australia is not in the Top 10 Most Inclusive Workplaces in the World

The Instant Group has published data on which countries have the most inclusive workplaces based on the newly developed Kantar Inclusion Index. The top ten countries ranked most inclusive were: Canada, USA, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil, the UK, France and Poland. The index was developed from data of over 18,000 employees across 14 countries. Unfortunately, Australia did not make the top ten. Lucinda Pullinger, Global Head of HR for The Instant Group, said there’s a difference between diversity and inclusivity. ‘It’s important to remember that a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture are different,’ she said. ‘If you have diversity, you don’t necessarily have inclusion. There is the argument that inclusion should be a key focus before diversity, otherwise you run the risk of creating a diverse organisation in which the diversity isn’t valued or harnessed due to a lack of inclusion,’ she explained.

Advice Sought on Whether Judge Dyson Should be Stripped of QC Title

New South Wales Attorney-General has sought advice on whether former High Court judge Dyson Heydon should be stripped of his Queen’s Counsel title. Mr Heydon was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1987 for his outstanding contribution to law and justice. However, following accusations of sexual harassment, NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman begun investigating the State’s options to prevent the legal giant from practicing again. In a statement, Mr Speakman said ‘[t]he allegations against Mr Heydon are appalling.’ ‘I note he has not renewed his practicing certificate and so is forbidden to practice as a lawyer, regardless of the initials after his name,’ he continued. ‘That said, I understand community concerns about the issue and have requested the Department of Communities and Justice provide me with advice on this matter.’ Mr Speakman confirmed that he wrote ‘to the President of the NSW Bar Association, Mr Tim Game SC, seeking the Bar Council’s views as to what action, if any, should be taken in response to allegations concerning Mr Heydon.’

AFL Figures Apologise and Sign Settlement Regarding Racial Comment

Three AFL figures have issued a formal apology and signed a $100,000 settlement with St Kilda football legend Nicky Winmar. In an episode of the podcast ‘You Cannot Be Serious,’ journalist Mike Sheahan, AFL commentator Sam Newman and former Hawthorn captain Don Scott remarked on Winmar’s famous 1993 AFL game. In the match against Collingwood, Winmar and fellow indigenous teammate Gilbert McAdam received racial abuse from the crowd. Winmar responded to the crowd by lifting his St Kilda jersey, pointing to his skin and saying, ‘I am black, and I am proud.’ The iconic moment represented a turning point in Australian sporting history. However, during the podcast episode, Newman implied the anti-racist message developed after the fact. Newman suggested that activists have since ‘morphed’ and weaponised the moment to suit their political agenda. Sheahan agreed, arguing that Winmar was instead referring to the ‘guts’ he had shown during the match, not the colour of their skin. Guardian Australia reported that Winmar was prepared to bring a case under the Racial Discrimination Act. However, the parties were able to reach a $100,000 settlement instead. The podcast participants also agreed to issue a formal public apology. The apology reads:

‘During our 23 June 2020 podcast we talked about Nicky lifting his jumper and pointing to his skin at the end of the 1993 Collingwood and St Kilda match during which he had been racially abused. We acknowledge what Nicky did was an act of Indigenous pride and defiance. It was also a powerful statement of solidarity for Indigenous Australians who are subjected to racism and vilification. Any suggestion otherwise was wrong. We have reflected deeply on the issues. We understand many people would regard what we said as racially discriminatory of Nicky and Indigenous Australians. For all these reasons, we sincerely apologise to Nicky Winmar and to Indigenous Australians generally.’

New AMP Chief Had Previous Allegations of Sexual Harassment

AMP’s new chief executive recently came under fire over historical allegations of sexual harassment. Boe Pahari commenced as the new chief executive of AMP Capital last week. However, the day after his commencement, the media resurfaced a 2017 sexual harassment claim against Mr Pahari. A spokesperson was quick to allay the media’s concerns, confirming that AMP facilitated an external investigation into the incident. ‘The external investigation identified lower level breaches of AMP’s code of conduct for which Mr Pahari had appropriate consequences imposed, including a financial penalty and counselling for his conduct,’ the spokesperson said. ‘Mr Pahari accepted the findings and apologised to the colleague,’ the spokesperson concluded. Prior to Mr Pahari’s appointment, the AMP board also reviewed the incident and were ‘satisfied that the investigation had been thorough, and the consequences Mr Pahari received were ‘significant and appropriate.’