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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 August 2021) . . Page.. 2296 ..


Led by the sector, this work will be inclusive and intersectional about experiences from across the community, including from people with disability, children and young people, the LGBTIQ+ community, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, and communities that are culturally and linguistically diverse.

A reference group has been set up focusing specifically on sexual harassment and assault in the workplace, and this group will provide input to all the working groups to represent the perspectives of workers and workplace safety. Within the working groups and reference groups, a steering committee chair will now be moving forward as meetings have occurred within all those working groups. I know members in this place, the Leader of the Opposition Ms Lee and Dr Paterson have already presented to the law reform working group, and I know that there are more presentations to come along. As well, the ACT government has set up in our own workplace, here in the Legislative Assembly, the parliamentary women’s group and the government women’s caucus as well as a support network for staff. So I am confident that the ACT government is well positioned to deliver an evidence-based approach to sexual assault that places victim-survivors at the front.

DR PATERSON: Minister, how is sexual harassment a gendered issue?

MS BERRY: I thank Dr Paterson for the supplementary question. This week—yesterday, in fact—I tabled the ACT government’s response to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work report on the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces. The ACT government’s response provides a position on each of the 55 recommendations in the Respect@Work report. The ACT government acknowledges that gendered power imbalances in the workplace and across society are key drivers of sexual harassment, and that other forms of discrimination, disadvantage and harassment—such as sexuality, cultural background and disability—intersect to compound the impact of sexual harassment. These gendered power imbalances go to the root of mainstream and harmful understandings of gender—the way we misunderstand gender as a binary, with set roles and ways of behaving.

I can say anecdotally that psychosocial hazards such as sexual harassment are more prevalent in traditionally female industries such as nursing, education and hospitality, and these hazards lead to risks which can result in long-lasting psychological injuries. These types of injuries present a workplace safety issue, yet they can be more hidden and can develop over time. They can also go untreated and unacknowledged, and this presents another workplace gender gap. The ACT government is committed to continuing primary prevention work and doing that work across our ACT public schools, as well as, importantly, across the community to challenge harmful gender norms and to prevent and respond to sexual harassment.

MS ORR: Minister, what would the ACT propose should be implemented across the country to address gendered violence?

MS BERRY: I thank Ms Orr for the supplementary question. Everyone has the right to feel safe—safe in the community, safe at home and safe at work. The Australian


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