The rise of the #MeToo movement has shone a spotlight on the prevalence of sexual harassment, bullying and other inappropriate and unacceptable behaviours within workplaces across the country, leading to a range of inquiries at federal and state levels.
Alcohol is a risk factor for these types of behaviours, acknowledged in several recent government reviews.
In 2021, the Australian Government asked the Australian Human Rights Commission to conduct an Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces. This became known as the Jenkins Review since it was led by Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins. The Jenkins Review devotes considerable attention to the use of alcohol within the final recommendation of its report, calling for implementation of many of the recommendations in FARE’s submission.
Also in 2021, the NSW Government asked former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick to undertake an Independent Review into bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct in NSW Parliament. The Broderick Review made recommendations that will create safe Parliamentary workplaces which are free from bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct.
FARE’s submission to the Broderick Review demonstrated that NSW Parliamentary workplaces are not immune to this behaviour, and highlighted key recommendations from FARE’s submission to the Jenkins Review, including:
- undertaking a risk assessment of alcohol use and harm
- developing and enforcing an alcohol policy that takes a health and human rights approach to addressing alcohol in the workplace and at work-related events develop a Code of Conduct that requires people to abide by the alcohol policy
- limiting alcohol use in Parliamentary workplaces to pre-approved functions and licensed premises, and
- creating an independent unit with responsibility for the prevention, reporting and management of unacceptable behaviour within Parliamentary workplaces, including responding to alcohol use.
- Final Report of the Independent Review into bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct in NSW Parliament: Leading for Change: Independent Review of Bullying, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct in NSW Parliamentary Workplaces 2022
- Final report of the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces: Set the Standard: Report on the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces (2021) | Australian Human Rights Commission
- FARE submission to the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces