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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 March 2021) . . Page.. 631 ..


protect mates. All I ever wanted was a fair investigation into my original complaint. Instead, this has been a four-year ordeal for me. And we wonder why women do not pursue sexual harassment complaints.

As much as the experience of sexual harassment was a very destructive one, the process of making a complaint and having that complaint ignored and disrespected has been an equally devastating process. Although I feel vindicated from the findings of this report, AUT Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack is still in his job, despite being the very person who made every single decision the QC was most critical of. Because of his failure to act on previous complaints, that directly paved the way for the harm to come to me.

While sexual harassment may be the behaviour of one individual, it is a workplace problem. It is a cultural problem. Culture is set at the top. I speak to workplaces across the ACT: reflect on your own culture; having appropriate policies, codes of practice and reporting structures in place is so critical. It protects you, as an employer, and it protects your workers.

What we spend a lot of time talking about in this space is conflict, but the critical part for high functioning workplaces is also resolution. If we promote work environments that are proactive and focus on prevention, with all the appropriate frameworks in place, then hopefully we will start to head in the right direction of where women are respected and treated as equals in the workplace. That is why I welcome and support Ms Orr’s motion to help bring about this cultural change in the ACT.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.06): I would like to start by thanking Ms Orr for bringing this motion to the Assembly today. We have already said today that recent events in our federal parliament, and the community, have shocked and horrified us. People are angry, women have had enough, and it is time that we have real change.

According to a 2018 Australian Human Rights Commission survey, 72 per cent of Australians over the age of 15 have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetimes. The same survey found that 40 per cent of workplace sexual harassment incidents were witnessed by at least one other person. In 69 per cent of these cases, the witness did not intervene. Almost one in five people who did report were labelled a troublemaker, ostracised, victimised, ignored by colleagues, or resigned.

Ms Orr has acknowledged that the recent events at Parliament House are not unique. It has happened pretty much forever. It happens everywhere. I have worked in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors in a 40-year or so career. I want to give a short summary of things that happened to me over those years. This is not an exhaustive list by any means; it is just a few things.

There is being trapped in the photocopy room with the boss who cops a feel every time he can. There are the jobs or promotions missed out on, given to a man who may not have had the same caring responsibilities as a woman. There is being asked at job interviews about your plans to start a family. Once, when wearing a dress, back in the 1980s, when puffy sleeves were a bit of a thing and the dress had cut-outs in it, there was being asked by a male colleague, in front of quite a large crowd of people, if he


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