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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 August 2021) . . Page.. 2297 ..


Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work report demonstrates that for far too many people this is not the case. Thirty-nine per cent of women and 26 per cent of men have experienced sexual harassment at work in the last five years. This reality stems from gender inequality and unequal power structures, where employers fall short by not holding perpetrators and harassers to account. Workplace sexual harassment warrants a national response, and the ACT government encourages action by the commonwealth to protect workers and to take steps to advance women’s safety and gender equality. The Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021 responds to some but not all of the recommendations from the Respect@Work report, and the ACT government is encouraging the commonwealth to reconsider its position with regard to delaying broader amendments to the Fair Work system. The delay in the introduction of counterpart amendments to explicitly prohibit sexual harassment under the Fair Work Act limits our ability to clearly demonstrate our rejection of discrimination in any form.

As a government committed to upholding the rights and entitlements and protections of workers—I want to acknowledge the work of Minister Gentleman in this space—it is our position that the commonwealth should be taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the bill to ensure that sexual harassment and discrimination on the grounds of sex are expressly prohibited under the Fair Work Act. To do this, we would need to provide the strongest evidence possible to the federal government to ensure that it can do this work.

Roads—speed limits

MRS KIKKERT: Chief Minister, when you incorrectly told the Canberra public that thousands of warnings had been issued to motorists exceeding the 40 kilometre per hour speed limit in the new speed restrictions area in Civic, did anyone from your office or directorate advise you of this error?

MR BARR: There was no question to me there, but I will take it that the question was—it was not asked. But nevertheless, no. But I am aware now and have apologised.

MRS KIKKERT: Chief Minister, why did your office or directorate fail to alert you to this error, and why does it take questioning from the opposition to bring the truth to light?

MR BARR: I do not know that this would be the top issue that we have been dealing with at the moment, frankly, in the middle of a pandemic with massive implications and a lot of other issues on my desk at the moment. I apologise—

Mr Hanson interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, enough.

MR BARR: I apologise for the error. There were a lot of warnings given, but it would appear not individual warnings to individual motorists by way of letter. I apologise if there is any misunderstanding in relation to that matter. What is very clear is that there were months and months of warnings, signs, media coverage, social media


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