Respect@Work passes Parliament

Media release
28 Nov 2022
Prime Minister, Minister for Women, Attorney-General

The Albanese Government is acting to make workplaces safe from sexual harassment with the passage of the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation (Respect@Work) Bill through Parliament.

Sexual harassment is not inevitable – it is preventable.

This historic Respect@Work legislation significantly progresses gender equality by ensuring women are able to earn a living in safe, sexual harassment-free workplaces.

The legislation closely follows the recommendations of Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, left unfinished by the former government.

The new laws will:

  • Place a positive duty on employers to take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate sex discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation, as far as possible;
  • Strengthen the Australian Human Rights Commission with new functions to assess and enforce compliance with this new requirement, including the capacity to give compliance notices to employers who are not meeting their obligations;
  • Expressly prohibit conduct that results in a hostile workplace environment on the basis of sex; and
  • Ensure Commonwealth public sector organisations are also required to report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency on its gender equality indicators.

Over the past five years, one in three people experienced sexual harassment at work, with women experiencing higher rates of harassment than men.

Everyone has the right to a safe and respectful workplace and the fact that workplaces have not been safe or respectful for so many Australians is unacceptable.

The Government would like to thank Ms Jenkins for her work, as well as all victim-survivors who came forward to share their stories and to inform the Respect@Work Report.

This is a Government that listens to women – and acts.