Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
Minister for Finance
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for South Australia
Date: Friday, 4 June 2021
The Government has today released the consultation report provided by Stephanie Foster PSM into the processes and procedures relating to serious incidents in the parliamentary workplace.
This report has made some significant findings and recommendations to improve how serious incidents are prevented and dealt with in the parliamentary workplace.
For example, the report identified that there was a significant gap is the absence of readily accessible, independent, trauma-informed services. We have already taken steps to address this, by the introduction of a dedicated 24/7 support line, 1800 274 778.
In addition, work is already well underway to implement face-to-face education and support for parliamentarians and their staff, which will seek to create positive workplace cultures that help to prevent, identify and respond to serious incidents in the workplace.
The other critical recommendation in the report was the development of a trusted, independent complaints mechanism. This body of work is complex, however consultation across the Parliament will commence immediately.
Ms Foster has engaged experts in drafting her report, including Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins. Ms Foster’s recommendations provide for implementation of important reforms ahead of the receipt of Commissioner Jenkins’ comprehensive review later this year.
I will now work with Ms Foster to provide briefings across Parliament on the report. The Government looks forward to Ms Foster bringing back a final report, informed by those briefings, as soon as possible.
The Government thanks Ms Foster for her report and now looks forward to working together with Members and Senators from across the political spectrum to make the changes we need to ensure parliamentary workplaces are a safe, supportive and respectful.