Page 4888 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 25 October 2011

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MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary.

MS BRESNAN: Minister, what consideration has the ACT government given to employing a team of WorkSafe inspectors with a specialisation in psychosocial issues, which is now done in Queensland, to ensure that workplace bullying and harassment is better addressed in the ACT?

MR CORBELL: I will take the question on notice.

MS HUNTER: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Hunter.

MS HUNTER: Attorney-General, what is the government doing to address the issue of under-reporting of workplace bullying in the ACT, and how widespread do you think this under-reporting issue could be?

MR CORBELL: It would be difficult to speculate on the second part of Ms Hunter’s question, but in relation to the first part of the question, the government does treat this issue very seriously. We have a range of policy measures in place, not just through WorkSafe ACT but throughout the ACT public service, through our RED framework—respect, equity and diversity framework—which is designed to remind and encourage all ACT public servants about the importance of those principles in the workplace.

WorkSafe ACT does undertake regular activities to promote understanding about the occupational health and safety aspects of workplace bullying and the duties that are placed on employers, and indeed on all people in the workplace, to avoid and to take action to address circumstances of workplace bullying. The commissioner for work safety has previously run campaigns promoting awareness of bullying in the workplace and what steps can be taken to address that. I know that the commissioner and his staff are frequently asked by a range of government agencies to assist those agencies with advice and information to build improved awareness of workplace bullying matters and what steps should be taken in response to any such occurrence of those matters.

MR HARGREAVES: Supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Does the constant stream or cacophony of invective coming from those opposite into the ministry over this side of things constitute workplace bullying?

MR CORBELL: It is perhaps a worthy observation that perhaps in any other workplace the behaviour we often see in this place would be well and truly constituted as workplace bullying. But clearly we are a parliament, and parliaments tend to set their own norms in relation to these types of matters.

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