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Thursday, 20 May 1993
Page: 1058

(Question No. 53)


Senator Calvert asked the Minister representing the Minister for Employment, Education and Training, upon notice, on 4 May 1993:

  (1) Were community committees of the former Community Youth Support Scheme (CYSS) covered by insurance against sexual harassment and discrimination claims by employees; if not, why not.

  (2) Have claims been made against former CYSS schemes for sexual harassment and discrimination; if so, by whom.

  (3) What has it cost the Department in: (a) legal fees; and (b) compensation payments, for claims of sexual harassment and discrimination against CYSS schemes.

  (4) Are SkillShare schemes covered by insurance against sexual harassment and discrimination claims by employees; if not, why not.

  (5) Have claims been made against SkillShare groups for sexual harassment and discrimination by employees.

  (6) What has been the cost to the Department in: (a) legal fees; (b) compensation payments, for claims of sexual harassment and discrimination against SkillShare programs.


Senator Robert Ray —The Minister for Employment, Education and Training has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) No. Given that the program no longer operates, the use of the resources required to identify the full range of reasons for this decision is not justified.

  (2) There were 2 claims before the Human Rights Commission involving CYSS committees for alleged sexual harassment in 1986. Following advice from the Attorney-General's Department I have decided that the names of the two claimants should not be disclosed.

  (3) (a) $61,437.16. (b) Deeds of agreement were finalised in both instances without any admission of liability on the part of either party. Both agreements contain a non-disclosure clause.

  (4) Under the SkillShare Insurance Program the SkillShare Directors and Officers Liability Insurance does provide coverage to Sponsor body personnel against sexual harassment/discrimination claims by employees where it can be proved that there has been a wrongful act. However, the coverage provided is in relation to the alleged financial loss suffered by the plaintiff and does not extend to bodily injury and/or mental injury claims. Furthermore, no insurance cover will provide protection for criminal charges including fines, penalties and punitive damages.

  There is also legal liability protection for the Sponsor group for compensation/damages under the General and Products Liability Policy if the third party can prove that he/she suffered humiliation or mental anguish as a result of proved sexual harassment.

  SkillShare Sponsors are incorporated bodies and may take out additional insurance beyond the SkillShare Insurance Program if they see the need.

  (5) My Department has found no record of any such claim.

  (6) (a) Nil. (b) Nil.