Today, on the second anniversary of the adoption of the Set the Standard report, we acknowledge that an unacceptably high rate of people, particularly women, in Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces have experienced bullying, sexual harassment, or actual or attempted sexual assault whilst at work. This misconduct is unacceptable, and we acknowledge the grave impact it had or continues to have on previous and current staff.
For two years, the Parliamentary Leadership Taskforce has led the implementation of the Set the Standard reforms. The Parliament thanks the Taskforce for their continuous work and leadership.
Today, we recommit the Parliament to positive change, and acknowledge achievements to date, including:
- Establishing the Parliamentary Workplace Support Service as a statutory body, offering independent and confidential support to everyone in Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces.
- Reforms to modernise the Members of Parliament Act to ensure employees are protected from discrimination, as well as refreshed professional development and improved management practices.
- Undertaking reviews to further enhance inclusivity and dignity of access of Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces.
- Endorsing clear and consistent Codes of Conduct with consultations on the proposed Independent Parliamentary Standards Commission expected to commence shortly.
- Supporting the health and wellbeing of parliamentarians and staff with enhanced wellbeing services.
- Improving work health and safety, with a new framework to manage shared risks.
- Additional professional development opportunities to support leaders at all levels, particularly induction programs and training on safe and respectful workplaces.
While significant progress has been made, the journey towards truly respectful and inclusive Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces is ongoing.
Cultural change will only come with the goodwill of parliamentarians. We must remain committed to building a workplace reflecting the nation’s values and expectations, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of everyone who works in, and supports the Parliament of Australia.