Queensland to appoint equity officer in response to staff harassment complaints

By Shannon Jenkins

Thursday April 8, 2021

Annastacia Palaszczuk discusses harassment
Annastacia Palaszczuk. (AAP Image/Darren England)

The Queensland government will appoint an equity officer to handle bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct complaints within the state’s public service.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Thursday announced the new role following reports of concerning figures from the Public Service Commission, according to the Australian Associated Press.

The statistics, which were originally reported by 9News and 7NEWS, have shown that more than 140 reports of inappropriate sexual conduct were made by Queensland public servants in the 2019-2020 financial year. That number was 158 the previous year.

The complaints reportedly related to behaviour that was offensive, humiliating or intimidating, and have resulted in just six employees being sacked, with 21 suspended with pay, and one suspended without pay.

More than 400 harassment complaints were made over the course of one year, the statistics have shown. Staff have also made more than 600 bullying complaints over the past two years, which has resulted in 112 employees facing action from management, 28 facing discipline, and nine employees being suspended with pay.

The figures have emerged after Palaszczuk on Wednesday called for the establishment of a national women’s summit, to address issues such as gender inequality, workplace sexual harassment, and affordable childcare. She plans to raise the issue at the next national cabinet meeting on Friday.

On Thursday the federal government announced a National Women’s Safety Summit would be held in July, to inform the next national plan to reduce family, domestic and sexual violence.

Read more: Government opens public consultation on plan to reduce violence against women and children


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