A NSW parliamentary inquiry into why workplace bullying and harassment are so prevalent in the emergency services is set to occur in August. Cindy Modderman is one of hundreds to submit her experience of workplace bullying to the inquiry. The former Ambulance employee claims she was subjected to bullying, taunts and intimidation (including having a phonebook thrown at her) to such an extent that she was forced to leave her job in 2015, having worked there for four years. Workplace health and safety expert at UNSW, Dr Carlo Caponecchia, believes that the hierarchy inherent in the police, fire fighting and paramedic services is one factor in the problem. Additionally, he suggests that due to their gravity and importance there is a heavy focus on ensuring the jobs are done to a high standard, such that the emotional wellbeing of the person doing the job may be overlooked.
Claims have emerged that the NSW Greens waited for 20 months before taking action against a party member who allegedly committed sexual assault. On February 16, 2017, the NSW Greens lodged a formal complaint against the man before formally suspending his membership on February 20. However, two women have come forward alleging that the party was in fact informed of the assault in May of 2015. Four additional reported statements corroborate their claims. Despite the Greens’ assertion to the contrary, there is evidence the alleged perpetrator had worked in senior roles in several election campaigns. A June statement from the party reads: “the Greens NSW are in the process of reviewing and strengthening policies and mechanisms for dealing with sexual assault, violence and harassment”.
Cricket Australia has removed a clause that would make players declare they are not pregnant, considered a move towards greater gender equality. The clause has been the source of public disagreement between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association, hindering pay talks between them in early 2017. Despite the change, players must still notify a medical officer of a pregnancy as soon as “reasonably practicable”, the legality of which continues to be a contentious issue for a specially formed women’s contract working group. Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association are working with Safe Work Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman, among others, to establish a Memorandum of Understanding on the issue.
A three-year WorkSafe program to educate against workplace bullying has launched in Ballarat. The city was highlighted as a “hot spot” for bullying after WorkSafe received a “high number” of such complaints over five years. According to Health and Safety Director, Marnie Williams, half of the 3100 claims of mental injuries lodged with the agency named bullying as the reason. The program’s introduction follows an independent 2016 report into the workplace culture of the Ballarat Health Services, which found consistent sexist and racist abuse, as well as “inappropriate behaviour”, “favouritism and nepotism”.