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     8   MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE— Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021

Message No. 436, 1 September 2021, from the Senate was reported transmitting for the concurrence of the House a Bill for an Act to amend the Fair Work Act 2009 and the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 , and for other purposes.

Bill read a first time.


Mr Fletcher (Minister representing the Attorney-General) presented a revised explanatory memorandum to the bill.

Mr Fletcher moved—That the bill be now read a second time.

Debate, by leave, ensued.

Mr Burke moved, as an amendment—That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

“whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House:

(1)        notes that:

(a)        it took the Coalition Government over 12 months to respond to the landmark Respect@Work report;

(b)        the bill before the House fails to deliver the legislative changes recommended by the landmark Respect@Work report that the Prime Minister promised every Australian woman he would implement in full; and

(c)        a Labor Government will fully implement all 55 recommendations of the Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s Respect@Work report to help keep Australians safe from sexual harassment at work; and

(2)        calls on the Government to fully implement the legislative changes recommended by the Respect@Work report, including:

(a)        amending the Fair Work Act to explicitly prohibit sexual harassment;

(b)        introducing a positive duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment happening in the first place;

(c)        making substantive equality between women and men one of the objects of the Sex Discrimination Act; and

(d)        establishing cost protections for complainants, so they are not discouraged from taking legal action against perpetrators due to the possibility of having to pay massive court-ordered legal costs”.

Debate continued.

Amendment negatived.

Question—That the bill be now read a second time—put and passed—bill read a second time.

Consideration in detail

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.

Mr Burke, by leave, moved Opposition amendments (1) to (51) together.

Debate ensued.

Question—That the amendments be disagreed to—put.

The House divided (the Speaker, Mr A. D. H. Smith, in the Chair)—

AYES, 23

Dr Allen

Mr Gee

Mr O’Dowd*

Mr Stevens

Mrs K. L. Andrews

Dr Gillespie

Mr Pitt

Mr Taylor

Mr Connelly

Mr Hunt

Mr Porter

Mr Tehan

Mr Fletcher

Mr Joyce

Ms Price

Mr Tudge

Ms Flint

Ms Ley

Mr Ramsey*

Mr Wyatt

Mr Frydenberg

Mr McCormack

Mr Robert


NOES, 17

Mr Albanese

Dr Freelander*

Mr Hill

Mr D. P. B. Smith

Mr Burke

Mr Giles

Mr Jones

Ms Stanley*

Ms T. M. Butler

Dr Haines

Dr Leigh

Ms Templeman

Ms Claydon

Mr Hayes

Ms Payne

Mr Zappia

Mr Dick


* Tellers

And so it was resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to.

Consideration in detail concluded.

On the motion of Mr Fletcher , by leave, the bill was read a third time.