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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Australia to Remove Sexual Harassment Exemption for Judges and Politicians

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced Thursday he will remove exemptions for judges and politicians from sexual harassment laws, amidst criticisms against his response to sexual harassment allegations under his administration.

“Sexual harassment is unacceptable,” Morrison said at a briefing.

“It’s not only immoral and despicable and even criminal, but … it denies Australians, especially women, not just their personal security but their economic security by not being safe at work,” he added.

The move comes as the Prime Minister promised to adopt all 55 recommendations from last year’s report by Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, to ensure accountability, monitor complaints and require gender discrimination education in the workplace.

A highlight of some of the recommendations include removing the “exemption of state public servants” from its gender discrimination laws, as well as amending workplace laws to include sexual harassment as grounds for job termination.

Morrison’s government faced backlash after a former staffer Brittany Higgins said she was raped by a colleague in Parliament House in 2019.

Last month, a sex scandal involving lawmakers and government staffers was revealed by a whistleblower in parliament.

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