Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 March 2021) . . Page.. 628 ..


If these practices are occurring in the ACT public service, or entities contracted to or working with the ACT government, the Canberra community deserves to know. Very often, non-disclosure agreements are used as a method of protecting the identity of perpetrators of bullying and harassment, and sexual harassment. This sort of measure would not pass the pub test if it were to occur in the ACT public service due to bullying or sexual harassment. This section of my motion does not call on the government, or anyone else, to reveal details of any non-disclosure agreement, for obvious privacy and legal reasons. It merely calls for some more transparency about how public money is being spent to ensure that it is not being spent in ways that might not be in the public interest.

Finally, I would like to note that the motion I have moved also calls on the government to write to the federal government and call on them to ratify ILO convention 190 on workplace violence and harassment. This should have already been done by the federal government, but that would be a step too far for them; they would have to do something about it. In conclusion, while recent revelations from federal parliament have shone a particularly bright light on these issues, they have always been there. Workplace safety includes psychosocial safety and it certainly has a gendered lens. The federal government needs to do more to implement the recommendations of the Boland report and the respect at work inquiry. In the meantime, these are measures that I urge the government to take. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (3.54): I am pleased to support Ms Orr’s motion. Like most women in Australia, I am downright furious about the revelations dribbling down from the hill—furious, but not surprised. I am not going to detail the latest assault or outrage by men who hold power but take no responsibility. We all know about it. We have all heard. We are all disgusted and furious. But we are not surprised because we have seen this our whole lives. Most of us have felt it directly. We have lived with it and worked with it and we have been stuck with it. And now there is another wave of unrepentant revelations from people in positions of trust.

Women often pay the high price of accepting unwanted behaviour to keep our careers and our reputations intact because the systems that are supposed to support us in these situations, counterintuitively, hurt us and they hurt our careers. We live in a world that often treats women as second-class citizens, or that treats us like objects to be handled, heckled and harassed. The extent of this mistreatment differs greatly, even in Australia.

Where we were born, our background, age, socio-economic status, our level of education and connection to a stable community—these all determine how comfortable we are at speaking up when our boundaries are crossed. They also affect what happens when we do speak up. Make no mistake: all women experience sexual harassment. But the extent of the damage differs based on what perpetrators feel they can get away with.

This is why the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, “choose to challenge”, is an important half of the equation, but it is not complete. Yes, women


Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video