Foster Review does not solve unsafe workplaces

The CPSU today welcomes the publishing of the Foster Review, it reflects the very same issues CPSU members have been consistently raising for years, such as the need for improved supports, mandatory training, and an independent complaints process.

While the report offers some positive short-term measures that work within the current framework, there is much more to be done to address long term solutions to legislative or cultural problems.

Implementation for the review is also in question, as there is no substantial or ongoing funding contacted to the report’s outcomes. Which means whatever steps towards a safer parliamentary workplace this report recommends are dubitable.

The union has written to Minister Birmingham at completion of the Foster Review on 25 May 2021, regarding the implementation of the findings and requesting consultation with staff. It is disappointing that the Minister has not responded, leaving CPSU members to question the government’s genuine intention to consult with staff.


“The number of complaints and training figures show that there needs to be ongoing and mandated training for all staff and politicians.

“It defies logic that the review notes the department is now working on its own standalone sexual harassment policy, when at every turn they have blocked or ignored CPSU members calls for such a policy, including rejecting a drafted stand alone policy, with no reason or feedback.”

“If the Morrison Government was serious about implementing a sexual harassment and violence policy, they would have negotiated on the enterprise agreement clause employees put forward, rather than dismissing it.”

“It’s not enough for Minister Birmingham to consult politicians, who are in some cases part of the problem, the next stages of the implementation must focus on the very workers that the policies concern.”

“All workers deserve to be and should expect to be safe at work, and political staffers should be no different. The Morrison Government must take its duty to provide a safe workplace seriously and stop kicking this down the road. The Prime Minister and Minister needs to stop talking about safety, ignoring good ideas, and actually do something substantial.”