Tuesday, 31 August 2021
Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021; Second Reading
This Prime Minister would have to be the bare minimum Prime Minister. On all accounts, he fails to deliver and he says one thing and does another. On this particular piece of legislation, the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021, it is just unthinkable that he told Australian women that he would take seriously our concerns, our anger and our frustration with harassment at work and that he would implement all of the recommendations of the Jenkins' inquiry and report, yet once again we see this Prime Minister fall short. He is full of excuses but he really has answers for nothing.
After the last 18 months, women in this country have had enough with being shunted from pillar to post by this government. COVID has been terrible for Australian women. More women than men have lost their jobs. More women than men have lost hours. More women than men have lost pay. More women than men have had to take on more unpaid work. Today is Equal Pay Day, 31 August, and what does it show us? It shows us that the wage gap between men and women in this country is only getting worse—and it's getting worse under the leadership of this Prime Minister, Mr Scott Morrison. If there were ever a Prime Minister that was bad for women, this is it—this government and this Prime Minister, Scott Morrison. When he is confronted with the facts and with the difficult issues, he always finds a way of blaming everybody else. He never takes responsibility; it's always someone else's fault or he wasn't told—or he didn't bother to read the documentation.
This bill and the government's response to the Respect@Work report had been sitting on the desk of Mr Christian Porter for months and months and months and have only been brought forward because the issue of harassment and sexual abuse of women in the workplace by men has become so stark in our national discussion and debate, because of the bravery of a handful of very strong, courageous women—women who work in this building. Brittany Higgins is a hero; Brittany Higgins is one of the strongest women I have ever met in my life. She was sexually assaulted, allegedly in this building, in a ministers office—and we have been told that people very close to the Prime Minister knew.