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Respect@Work response welcome but devil will be in the detail

Media Release
Larissa Waters 8 Apr 2021

The Greens have cautiously welcomed the Morrison government’s long overdue response to the Respect@Work recommendations, but say that the PM has a lot of work to do before Australians believe that he takes workplace safety seriously.

Greens leader in the Senate and spokesperson on women Larissa Waters said:

“Following the March4Justice rally which the PM snubbed, I tabled a petition signed by over 90,000 people which called on the government to implement the Respect@Work recommendations. The government has had the report for over a year, so this belated response is long overdue.
“The devil will be in the detail, and in the funding provided to support creating safe workplaces.

“Effective implementation of all of the report’s recommendations will require significant Commonwealth funding. The upcoming budget will show whether the government is actually committed to cultural change.

“The PM has promised legislative reform by the end of June. The Greens have a Bill ready to be introduced to implement all the legislative reforms recommended in the report and will bring that on immediately if the government fails to act.

“The Sex Discrimination Commissioner noted the importance of age-appropriate, evidence-based respectful relationship education programs. The government says it is preparing resources and negotiating with schools, but much more is needed. Rather than the piecemeal implementation we’ve seen to date, the Greens will continue to push for a national rollout of the comprehensive whole-of-school program developed by primary prevention experts, Our Watch.

“Ensuring politicians are not exempt from the Sex Discrimination Act is critical, but much more will be needed to ensure MPs are held to account for harassment and abuse.

“We need an independently enforced Code of Conduct for all politicians and senior staff so those making complaints can feel confident there will be genuine consequences for perpetrators.

“It won’t be lost on Australians that, despite the PM’s rhetoric this morning about respect, he is leading a toxic government that has covered up a sexual assault in Parliament House, ignored bullying behaviour within its own ranks, and is currently protecting a Liberal MP who has allegedly stalked, trolled and tormented multiple women. 

“Today’s response to the Respect@Work report is an important first step, but the PM has a long way to go to prove to Australians, and Australian women in particular, that his government can be trusted to protect them in their workplaces. The Greens will continue to hold the government to account for delivering these much needed reforms.”

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