The Law Council of Australia has issued a stern reminder to employers across the nation of their responsibility to eliminate sex discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation in the workplace.
LCA President Pauline Wright, in a statement released on Monday night, said the Council believed every woman was entitled to feel safe and to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect while at work.
“Sexual harassment is both unlawful and entirely unacceptable,’’ Ms Wright said.
The statement came in response to an ABC Four Corners program which raised questions about two senior Federal Government ministers, including Attorney-General Christian Porter, and allegations surrounding their attitude towards women.
The ABC investigation included allegations of sexism and inappropriate behaviour, including public drunkenness and making unwanted advances to women staff members.
“In the view of the Law Council, those entrusted with positions of power in our society have a special responsibility to uphold the law and the rights of others, including the rights of women to be treated with respect and dignity in the workplace,’’ Ms Wright said.
“Those in positions of power should be alert to the vulnerability of junior staff members and of their duty of care to protect junior staff from exploitation in all its forms.
“Allegations of misconduct regarding public or elected officials require an appropriate framework for investigation, which is why the Law Council has long called for an integrity commission to be established at the federal level with appropriate powers and definitions of misconduct.’’