SYDNEY, Australia — After two months of sexual assault scandals, including an alleged rape inside Parliament House, Australia’s conservative government agreed on Thursday to accept a series of recommendations that aim to prevent gender-based abuse and increase accountability for misbehavior in the workplace.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison called his response to the report from the country’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner “a road map for respect” that would improve workplace culture in the public and private sectors. It includes more education in schools and the promise of new legislation to end exemptions for judges and members of Parliament from the country’s Sex Discrimination Law, and allows victims to file complaints for up to two years.
Mr. Morrison’s announcement was his most comprehensive effort so far to tackle a problem that has been festering for years in Australian politics, with women mistreated, demeaned or sexually harassed, usually without recourse.
A federal review focusing on Parliament’s workplace culture has also just begun, led by the same official, Kate Jenkins, and it may produce additional calls for reform as the demand for demonstrable change has continued to intensify.
the initial report was published in March 2020, with much of its findings overlooked by Mr. Morrison’s government until now, many women demanded more details and a clear timeline.
“It’s going to take more than just words from this government to correct the impression that they don’t care about these issues,” said Louise Chappell, a political science professor at the University of New South Wales. “This is not going to go away.”
Emma Husar, a former member of Parliament with the opposition Labor Party, said the government was still delivering only “the bare minimum.”
marches for justice that drew tens of thousands of women to the streets of Australian cities.