Workplace bullying inquiry hearings: update


Workplace bullying inquiry hearings: update

The Federal Government inquiry into workplace bullying is continuing — with the ultimate aim of coordinating governments in their approach to combating workplace bullying.


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The Federal Government inquiry into workplace bullying is continuing — with the ultimate aim of coordinating governments in their approach to combating workplace bullying.

The Education and Employment Committee will continue to take evidence in Canberra on 16 and 17 August 2012. The focus of the Canberra hearings will be on government departments and agencies as well as hearing from individuals who have experienced bullying in their workplaces.

The Committee chair, Ms Amanda Rishworth MP, said: ‘The committee continues to receive a strong response to its call for written submissions, particularly from individuals recounting their personal experiences, and is seeking to explore issues associated with workplace bullying in greater detail with government stakeholders, in particular.’

‘The Minister has asked us to complement work currently under way to develop a Code of Practice: Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying and initiatives by state and territory governments,’ she said.

Terms of reference
The terms of reference of the inquiry focus on:
  • ‘the prevalence of workplace bullying in Australia and the experience of victims of workplace bullying;
  • the role of workplace cultures in preventing and responding to bullying and the capacity for workplace-based policies and procedures to influence the incidence and seriousness of workplace bullying;
  • the adequacy of existing education and support services to prevent and respond to workplace bullying and whether there are further opportunities to raise awareness of workplace bullying such as community forums;
  • whether the scope to improve coordination between governments, regulators, health service providers and other stakeholders to address and prevent workplace bullying;
  • whether there are regulatory, administrative or cross-jurisdictional and international legal and policy gaps that should be addressed in the interests of enhancing protection against and providing an early response to workplace bullying, including through appropriate complaint mechanisms;
  • whether the existing regulatory frameworks provide a sufficient deterrent against workplace bullying;
  • the most appropriate ways of ensuring bullying culture or behaviours are not transferred from one workplace to another; and
  • possible improvements to the national evidence base on workplace bullying.’
Extent of inquiry
As well as the formal public programs (which are available from the committee’s website), the committee has set aside time at Friday’s hearing to hear from individuals about their experiences of bullying in the workplace.

To encourage maximum participation by individuals, who may be reluctant to be publicly identified, the media will not be permitted to report on these individual impact statements and none of the statements provided to the committee will be published. Only those wishing to make statements or observe proceedings will be allowed to be present in the room.

Ms Rishworth said: ‘Bullying has serious consequences for individuals and the wider community. Every Australian has a right to feel safe and respected at work. While it is not the role of the committee to intervene in or consider individual cases, we welcome submissions from employers, employees and their representative organisations regarding proposals and suggestions for securing workplaces against bullying at a national level.’
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