Reports today reveal that the Government has again failed to act on workplace safety, with a half-hearted tender for optional 1-hour training for MPs and senior staff to combat sexual violence and harassment.
CPSU members cannot be clearer; it is wholly inadequate and will not solve the serious issues of sexual misconduct, harassment, and bullying.
Parliamentary workers are angry and disappointed that the Government is still refusing to take workplace health and safety seriously.
CPSU members are still waiting for a response from Minister Birmingham, following correspondence sent on 25 June seeking consultation about the proposed training.
The CPSU first proposed mandatory training for sexual harassment and bullying in 2018 when seeking improvements to workplace policies on these matters. The Department of Finance rejected our proposal.
No real change can occur unless the Government acknowledges the prevalence and seriousness of the issues raised by this inquiry, and their impacts on individuals, and work with employees and their union to deliver a solution.
QUOTES ATTRIBUTABLE TO CPSU NATIONAL SECRETARY MELISSA DONNELY:
Our members do important work for our democracy, and their health and safety should never come second to the political point-scoring of the day.
The proposal for optional one-hour training will not meet the desperate need to educate parliamentarians, senior staff and office managers on protecting staff from sexual harassment and bullying and establish appropriate standards for workplace behaviour.
This is just a tick and flick exercise. The Morrison Government has no interest in meaningful workplace change. If this is a preview of what can be expected from the Government with the Jenkins Review implementation, then nothing will change.
The CPSU Submission to the Jenkins Review notes that there must be a clear commitment to ensure workplaces are as safe as possible, and action must be taken to mitigate the risks of sexual harassment and assault and bullying and harassment. This requires a gold standard workplace health and safety system, and worker-led risk mitigation.
More than that, our members expect real resources to implement reforms and recommendations including for staffing, training, and support - because talking about safe workplaces, doesn’t just magically make them safe.
Read CPSU Submission Part One to Jenkins Review here.