Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary workplaces

Key points

  • The Sex Discrimination Commissioner Ms Kate Jenkins will undertake an Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary workplaces.
  • Terms of Reference for the Review have been finalised and are now available.
  • The Review website is now available, it contains information on submitting to the Review.

The Prime Minister has announced an Independent Review (the Review) into Commonwealth Parliamentary workplaces which will be led by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Ms Kate Jenkins.

I have consulted with current and former staff, the Presiding Officers, the Opposition and minor parties and independents, on the scope and conduct of the review to ensure it fully canvasses the parliamentary workplace issues in an open and transparent way.

All parties have stressed the need for the Review to be handled respectfully and sensitively, to be at arms-length from government and to ensure staff are heard.

The aim of the Review is to ensure Parliamentary workplaces are safe and respectful and that our national Parliament reflects best practice in the prevention and handling of bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault.

The Review will consider recommendations to ensure that people who work in parliamentary workplaces are treated with dignity and respect and have access to clear and effective mechanisms to prevent and address bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Key objectives are:

  • understand the experiences of current and former Commonwealth parliamentary workplace employees and parliamentarians
  • consider best practice enabling a safe and respectful workplace
  • examine current support processes
  • consider the context of parliamentary workplaces, culture and characteristics that may increase the risk
  • assess current legislation, policies and practices relating to parliamentary workplaces.

The Review is expected to be completed by November 2021. A public progress update is expected in July 2021.

The full Terms of Reference for the Review are available available here.

I encourage you to make suggestions and or a submission to the Review. More information about the Review, including the process for submissions, is available on the Review Review website.

The confidential Parliamentary Support Line, 1800 APH SPT, announced this week, will provide counselling and support services at least until the Review makes recommendations for the longer term. Further information on the Support Line and other services available for staff and parliamentarians can be found on the Ministerial and Parliamentary Services (MaPS) website.

Yours sincerely

Simon Birmingham
Minister for Finance
5 March 2021

Circular 2021/02