Time for respect is now


Today’s release of Time for respect: fifth national survey on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces shows that implementing the Respect at Work Act cannot come soon enough for Australian women.

The Greens recognise the Respect at Work Act as a generational opportunity to change workplace culture and the National Survey results show, again, why that needs to happen.

Lines attributable to Greens leader in the Senate and spokesperson for women, Senator Larissa Waters

“The latest national survey shows that sexual harassment continues to be an all too common feature in Australian workplaces, with one in 3 workers experiencing workplace sexual harassment in the last 5 years.

“The Respect at Work report responded to the last national survey, and set out a clear roadmap for addressing workplace sexual harassment. The shameful delays from the Morrison government in acting on that report has meant that the latest survey shows little progress.”

“Only one third of workers believe their bosses are doing enough to make their workplaces safe from sexual harassment. With the passage of the Respect at Work Bill last week, employers will finally have a positive duty to create and maintain a safe workplace.

“The survey also found that, where sexual harassment did occur, half the time it happened more than once. Sexual harassment is more likely in workplaces that are sexually charged or where sexist behaviour is not called out. The new offences for creating or maintaining a hostile work environment will go a long way towards changing workplace culture.

“Disappointingly, the survey also confirms that reporting rates remain incredibly low. Workers need to feel confident that their boss will take a complaint seriously, and that they won’t face recriminations. As part of their positive duty, all workplaces should have clear and consistent complaints processes and ensure that people who report are not victimised as a result.

“Reporting rates will also remain low while workers cannot afford the financial risk of making a complaint. Following concerns raised by advocates, victim-survivors, legal experts and unions, the Greens got the government to agree to review cost protections so that financial barriers to calling out harassment can be removed.

“The Respect at Work Act must drive cultural changes across workplaces. I am hopeful that the results of the next national survey show that this change has happened."