Page 3936 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 29 October 2013
In October last year the federal parliament’s House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment also inquired into the issue of workplace bullying. That report made several recommendations that can be implemented at the national level and that I think are important steps in tackling bullying across the country. For example, it recommended the adoption of a national definition of bullying and that a national code of practice on bullying be progressed and implemented in all jurisdictions with urgency. My understanding of that code is that public comment closed earlier this year and that it is nearing finalisation. I hope that the ACT adopts the code shortly after it is finalised.
One of the interesting recommendations from the committee was that all state and territory governments coordinate and collaborate to ensure that their criminal laws are as extensive as Brodie’s law. Brodie’s law is the law arising from the tragic 2006 case of Brodie Panlock, a 19-year-old waitress in Victoria who committed suicide following persistent and vicious bullying at her workplace. Essentially this law criminalises instances of very serious bullying. I would be interested to talk to Mr Corbell about the ACT approach to this recommendation, as I believe it is worth looking at.
The federal government did make some response to the bullying inquiry quite quickly. Earlier this year it amended the Fair Work Act to allow employees who are being bullied at work to be able to apply to the Fair Work Commission for an order to stop the bullying. Essentially that is a new means of redress. That is only one aspect of many recommendations and actions that can be taken. I do hope that the incoming government will take further steps at the federal level to follow through on the recommendations of that report, to acknowledge that this is an important area of reform and governments should be taking the steps that they can.
I thank Mr Doszpot for bringing forward this matter of public importance today. It is a challenging area. It is one that, as some of the statistics I have touched on indicate, does impact on very many people in the workplace and it is one where we need to be innovative in thinking about ways to break it down. It is a very insidious form of behaviour that is difficult to challenge at times, so it requires a level of innovation and an ongoing level of focus, both in the private sector and in the government sector.
Motion (by Ms Burch) proposed:
That the Assembly do now adjourn.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.21): On 19 September I joined the Friends of Glenburn group for a tour of the Glenburn Homestead historic site, and took the opportunity to thank the volunteers for their work restoring the historic precinct. The