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Australia to scrap harassment exemption for judges and politicians

April 10, 2021 1:58 pm
Prime Minister Scott Morrison. [Source: Reuters]

Australia will scrap exemptions for judges and politicians from sexual harassment laws says, Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Morrison’s government is struggling to contain a backlash over allegations of mistreatment of female lawmakers and staff.

Morrison says under broad changes aimed at empowering complainants in workplace gender-related disputes, employers will be required to take a proactive approach to stop gender discrimination, while complainants get a longer period of time to lodge complaints.

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Early last year, Australia’s sex discrimination commissioner called for broad changes to workplace laws including removing exemptions for public sector employers and people who hire volunteers.

Morrison says he will adopt all 55 of the commissioner’s recommendations.

“Sexual harassment is unacceptable. It’s not only immoral and despicable and even criminal but particularly in the context of the respective work report, it denies Australians, especially women, not just their personal security but their economic security by not being safe at work.”

Public servants like judges and politicians are currently exempt from complaints about workplace gender discrimination, as are some employers of volunteers, because of a legal loophole which means they are technically not the complainant’s employer.

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