What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 4 – 10 December 2017

Theatre Network Creates Code of Behaviour in Light of Industry Allegations
In response to an increasing number of allegations of sexual harassment in the arts industry, the Theatre Network NSW has produced a Code of Behaviour. This code is set to apply to the entire sector, including freelance workers. Described by network director, Jane Kreis, as a “living document”, it provides suggested behaviours “drawn from living examples”. Such recommendations include: “It is never appropriate to consider or portray sexual harassment as a compliment”; and “It is never appropriate to downplay or make light of someone else’s concerns of harassment or misconduct”. Ms Kreis expressed the hope that the code of conduct would be adopted and used as a framework to help change existing antisocial behaviours.

ACT Fire and Rescue’s Recruitment Not Unlawful
A man who challenged the equal opportunity recruitment policy of the ACT Fire and Rescue agency has had his case dismissed by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (in the case of Macca v ACT). The policy, which was introduced in 2016, sought to give half of the available positions to women in order to achieve an equal division of the sexes. The unidentified complainant, whom the Tribunal assumed had unsuccessfully applied to the agency, argued that the policy unfavourably treated men because it unfairly advantaged the successful female applicants. The tribunal emphasised that the idea of equal opportunity must take into account procedures that “address underlying substantive inequalities that persist despite formal equality”. Although the policy did discriminate, it was held to be a “special measure intended to achieve equality”. As such, it was not unlawful under discrimination laws.