National Enquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces



Last week we told members how sexual harassment is always wrong.

We reminded members that the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) would be commencing a national inquiry into sexual harassment in the workplace. We attach the terms of reference for your information.

AHRC has now provided details of the inquiry process. The key details are below:

  1. On 12 September, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins will make a press club speech announcing the results of AHRC’s 2018 sexual harassment survey results. AHRC has already said that early indications from the survey are that sexual harassment in the workplace has increased since the last survey in 2012.
  2. A reference group including ACTU President Michele O'Neil, representatives from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Industry Group and academics has been established to advise AHRC on the inquiry. The first meeting of the reference group will take place on 21 September.
  3. National consultations consisting of roundtables for business, unions, community sector organisations and academics, as well as public ‘town hall meetings’, are planned for the below dates. AHRC will shortly write to the relevant state Labor Councils to advise of the consultations:

Hobart - Week commencing 24/9/18

Perth and Geraldton - Week commencing 8/10/18

Adelaide - Week commencing 15/1018

Darwin - Week commencing 29/10/18

Canberra - Week commencing 12/11/18

Melbourne - Week commencing 19/11/18 and 26/11/18

Brisbane and Townsville - Week commencing 3/12/18

Sydney and Albury-Wodonga - Week commencing 11/02/19

  • Written submissions due 31 January 2019.
  • Research and a literature review on sexual harassment will be conducted by AHRC staff.
  • A report on the review drafted by AHRC due August/September 2019.

The ACTU is coordinating the campaign and submission process.

A meeting of union affiliates, including ASMOF, will be held in the coming weeks to determine the key reform priorities for the movement and agree on a way to manage the submission process.