On 5 March 2021, the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces (Review) was established by the Australian Government. Conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission and led by the Sex Discrimination Commission, the Review's Terms of Reference asked it to make recommendations to ensure that Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces (CPWs) are safe and respectful and that the nation's Parliament reflects best practice in the prevention and handling of bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault.
On 30 November 2021, the Government released the Set the Standard: Report on the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces (the Jenkins Report) to which it sets out a framework for action organised under five key shifts required to ensure safe and respectful work environments in CPWs in the areas of leadership, diversity, equality and inclusion, systems to support performance, standards reporting and accountability and safety and wellbeing.
One of the recommendations was the establishment of the Parliamentary Workplace Support Service (PWSS), which provides independent and confidential support for all workplace conflict. This includes early intervention and resolution for all CPW participants. Where appropriate, the PWSS can refer matters involving Members of Parliament (Staff) 1984 Act employees and parliamentarians for independent review.
The Parliamentary Leadership Taskforce (PLT) has also been established to oversee the implementation of the recommendations from the Jenkins Report. The PLT is a cross‐party steering group to ensure coordinated and non‐partisan implementation of the Jenkin Report’s recommendations and embed institutional leadership. The PLT has been developed to review progress against the Jenkins Report recommended timeframes and drive priorities for implementation. An implementation tracker is developed after each PLT meeting every month to publicly report on the progression of each recommendation. The PLT is also supported by a PLT Implementation Group, which Finance is a member of.
A Staff Consultative Group has also been recently developed and is supported by the PLT Secretariat. The Staff Consultative Group has been established to engage with staff across different CPWs on the implementation of the Jenkins Report reforms. The Staff Consultation Group will aim to facilitate open communication between staff of CPWs and those implementing the Jenkins Report reforms, allowing staff to express their opinions and concerns related to the reforms.