Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
Minister for Finance
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for South Australia
Date: Thursday, 18 March 2021
The Senate has today passed legislation that will ensure participants in the independent review into Commonwealth Parliamentary workplaces, to be led by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, will have their privacy and confidentiality protected.
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said the passing of the Archives and other legislation Amendment Bill 2021 through the Senate puts in place strong and effective protections to ensure the confidentiality and privacy of all participants.
“The participation of current and former staff in the independent review will be of paramount importance to bringing about the cultural and practical change that is necessary in our parliamentary workplace,” Minister Birmingham said.
“We want all participants to feel supported and have confidence knowing that in sharing their experiences their personal and sensitive information will be safeguarded and their privacy respected.
“This legislation provides participants, whether that be current or former staff, or anyone else, with the assurance that if they make a submission or participate in any way, that if they wish for their participation to remain confidential that it will remain so.
“We have always had strong confidence that using the Australian Human Rights Commission for this Review would provide sufficient protections to guarantee confidentiality, and this legislation now provides an absolute additional layer of assurance.
“This step to protect personal information and encourage people to come forward is consistent with other steps taken in similar sensitive processes. Notably, protections that were provided in relation to information given at private sessions of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
“I would like to thank the various parties, including the Opposition for their advocacy in relation to this matter and its smooth passage through the Senate.”
It’s expected that this legislation will be introduced into the House of Representatives next week.