Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
Minister for Finance
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for South Australia
Date: Friday, 4 February 2022
The Government continues to work towards the implementation of all 28 recommendations outlined in Set the Standard, the Report on the Independent Review of Parliamentary Workplaces undertaken by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins.
The Jenkins Report and its recommendations provide a roadmap to drive the cultural and practical change necessary to make our Parliamentary workplaces safer.
A multi-party Leadership Taskforce, with Ms Kerri Hartland as the independent expert chair, has been established to oversee the implementation of the recommendations, many of which require the leadership and cooperation of the leaders of all Parliamentary workplaces.
The Taskforce met for the first time yesterday and will help to ensure there is a coordinated approach across the Parliament to the implementation of the Report’s recommendations.
I thank the Opposition, minor parties and independents for their constructive engagement throughout the processes surrounding the Jenkins Review, including those who agreed to join the Taskforce and to work collectively towards implementation of the Report’s recommendations.
With Parliament reconvening next week, the Taskforce discussed the delivery of a Statement of Acknowledgement, which was the first recommendation of the Report, as well as the establishment a Joint Select Committee on Parliamentary Standards to inquire into and report on matters relating to the development of codes of conduct for Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces.
Next week the Government also intends to introduce into Parliament the legislative changes recommended by the Jenkins Report to confirm that the Fair Work Act 2009, the Age Discrimination Act 2004 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 apply to people employed under the Members of Parliament Staff Act (MOP(S) Act).
It will also confirm the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 applies to a Member or Senator in their role as an employer of staff employed under the MOP(S) Act.
The Government has commissioned a comprehensive review of the MOP(S) Act, consistent with Recommendation 18, and it will publicly report following its conclusion by September 2022. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet will shortly invite submissions.
The Government has also already extended the funding for the Parliamentary Workplace Support Service (PWSS) so work can commence on its expansion and so it can continue to be made available to staff and parliamentarians, alongside extra funding for the Parliamentary Support Line.
The Leadership Taskforce will continue to consider the implementation of the Report’s other recommendations, with information on the progress of all of them to be shared at its regular meetings.
The Government looks forward to continuing to work constructively with colleagues across the Parliament to make the changes we need to ensure our workplace is safe, supportive and respectful.
The statement from yesterday’s meeting can be found at: Jenkins Report Leadership Taskforce Meeting 3 February 2022.