What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 31 October – 6 November 2016

Senate Inquiry Re Bullying in Medical Profession “Depressing”

The Senate is currently conducting an inquiry into the medical complaints process in Australia, with particular reference to bullying. The inquiry has heard that medical students are being bullied and harassed by senior colleagues or professors, and fear that reporting this conduct will affect their career progression. The Australian Medical Students’ Association stated that up to half of medical students believe that such mistreatment is necessary and beneficial for learning. Evidence presented to the Senate inquiry included an instance where a male surgeon mocked a female student during her research presentation, stating: ““My, my, my, haven’t they let you out of the kitchen a lot this month.” Another piece of evidence heard by the commission related to a male clinician who routinely grilled female students on content that hadn’t been taught. When the students were unable to respond, the clinician would ask: “Aren’t women supposed to be smart nowadays? Isn’t that why we’re letting them in?” Senate Committee chairwoman, Rachel Siewert has said that the evidence presented to the inquiry was “depressing.”

Dr Alleges Systemic Bullying in Public Hospitals
Dr Gary Fettke has alleged that he has experienced “systemic bullying and harassment in the public hospital system” at a Senate Committee meeting. Dr Fettke told the inquiry that he was the subject of “a sustained defamatory campaign posted on a social media hate page.” Dr Fettke alleged that he made multiple attempts to report the bullying, but all avenues failed. The Tasmanian Health Service has stated that they are aware of Dr Fettke’s allegations and will be commencing an investigation.