Today’s independent review by Elizabeth Broderick and Co into bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct in NSW Parliament contains findings that are shocking and absolutely unacceptable. However, sadly they are not surprising for our members working in NSW Parliament.
Everyone has a right to a safe workplace. It is clear from this report that many of those who carry the duty to keep staff safe in NSW Parliament have failed in that duty. The findings in this report are serious and urgent, the PSA provides its in-principle support for the recommendations while we examine them in more detail before providing a more fulsome response.
Since the current Government passed the Member of Parliament Staff Act 2013 (NSW), Members’ staff in NSW Parliament have been insecure workers, prevented from accessing the most basic workplace protections that are available to other employees in NSW. These vulnerable workers operate in workplaces with substantial power imbalances and limited access, if any, to effective reporting mechanisms when misconduct is perpetrated against them. These workers do not have a seat at the table to negotiate or consult on their workplace conditions and protections. They can be sacked without warning or reason at any time.
All workers in NSW Parliament perform their duties because of their commitment to democracy and passion for their service to the people of NSW. Many do so while performing untold hours of unpaid overtime, late into the night, in a high-pressure political environment. Our members do all of this while contending with vast asymmetrical power imbalances in their office, facing pressures and challenges that would be unacceptable in most other workplaces.
“Today’s report demonstrates these elements have combined to create a dangerous environment for bullying, sexual harassment and assault. This must change. Every leader in NSW Parliament has a solemn duty to treat the findings and recommendations in this report with the respect, urgency and seriousness they deserve.” said Troy Wright, Assistant General Secretary of the PSA.
The culture of NSW Parliament must be addressed to make it a safe place to work for parliamentary staff members and Members’ staff. The PSA thanks our members for their courage in providing honest and comprehensive evidence to this review so that we’re all able to fully understand their lived experience.
“The PSA will support efforts to resolve these issues and ensure everyone can go to work in NSW Parliament safely”