On 1 February 2022, Rio Tinto published an internal report that confirmed that sexual assault, bullying and racial discrimination are widespread throughout the company. 21 women had reported actual or attempted rape or sexual assault in the last five years. One third of women employed said they had experienced harassment. This report adds to the mountain of evidence that shows a culture of sexual harassment and bullying in the WA mining industry. The government inquiry into the industry also revealed that BHP had 18 cases of actual or attempted rape in a 2 year period. Rio Tinto has been commended on its effort in gathering evidence and taking the first step to acknowledge its toxic workplace culture.
On 4 February 2022, the senate standing committee released its inquiry report into the controversial Religious Discrimination Bill. The inquiry was led by Liberal and Labor members. The senate committee has approved the majority of the legislation, with a few exceptions on provisions related to discrimination of students and teachers on the grounds of religious beliefs. Despite hearing the concerns and hesitations from human rights and legal organisations, the committee is “not convinced” that the Bill would “disturb the balance or skew it in favour of one particular attribute”. The report stated the committee’s belief that clause 12 of the bill was sufficient in providing protection for human rights. The Greens have released a dissenting report.
A formal statement will be issued next week to acknowledge the harm suffered by political staffs who faced sexual harassment, bullying and sexual assault. This is part of a recent effort to implement the recommendations from Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins. The statement will be read in Parliament on the 8th February 2022.
A prominent coach in Australian gymnastics has been found by the National Sports Tribunal to be guilty of harassing two-time Olympian, Georgia Bonora. The coach, Peggy Liddick, engaged in practices such as locking teenage athletes in their room and feeding them peas and carrots under the door. Liddick has released a formal apology to Bonora in accordance with the order of the National Sports Tribunal Determination. She has also been suspended for four-months from her coaching. The matter came to the attention of the Tribunal after Bonora made a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s during its review of gymnastics. Liddick has denied any wrongdoing despite the allegations against her being substantiated.