First the new Family Law Bill is pushing fathers into court to try to see their children, and now this.
Kate Jenkins may have retired from her job as Sex Discrimination Commissioner, but she’s done a brilliant job in ensuring her future employment. Late last year, she was boasting on Instagram about her masterstroke:
“Having recommended the new positive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment, sex discrimination and other unlawful conduct, I’m now focused on helping employers to meet this duty,” she announced cheerfully.
She’s quite shameless in spruiking masterclasses for teaching corporate boards and executive teams to toe the line, asking, “Who best to fast track your compliance than the people who wrote Respect@Work?”
Respect@Work was the report responsible for pushing all this into workplaces. Jenkins and her team create a fiction of workplaces as cesspits of groping men intent on keeping women in their lowly place. The Jenkins team shifted the goalposts to include discrimination rather than just harassment, and then redefined sexual harassment as “gender-based violence,” skilfully bringing the huge domestic violence industry on board. They then came up with 55 recommendations they claim would put things right.
That was back in 2020, and the Morrison government, under siege from the Higgins et al. claims of their “women’s problem”, dutifully gave the nod to most of them, only baulking at the really crazy stuff.
But along came Labor’s white knight, Attorney-General Dreyfus, who has shown great enthusiasm for tilting the scales of justice against men – the Family Law Bill being a case in point. Making life impossible for the corporate sector is an extra bonus – hence, he embraced all the recommendations, including the “positive duty” requirement that the former government had rejected, and pushed them into law with great alacrity.
What is this positive duty all about? Well, it places an onus on employers to “take reasonable and proportionate measures” to wipe out sex discrimination and harassment in their workplaces. No tall order, eh?
Now, bosses have to meet various ill-defined, open-ended requirements or risk punishment. The Attorney-General’s Department estimates compliance will cost employers $226.4 million a year – which big business will pass on to customers, whilst crippling more small businesses already drowning in red tape.
It’s a mighty impressive effort, forcing the entire workforce to dance to their tune – yet one more demonstration of the power and influence of Australia’s feminist movement.
As always, they’ve got away with all manner of deception and double-talk, with our media intent on celebrating their achievements rather than asking the hard questions.
Airbrushing the truth about harassment
Consider the fact that when this all started, it was supposed to be just about sexual harassment. Or so Kate Jenkins claimed when she presented Respect@Work to the Morrison government, claiming it “examined the nature and prevalence of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces, the drivers of this harassment and measures to address and prevent sexual harassment”.
From the start, the spin was on. The Respect@Work report included data from their 2018 National Survey, which included some awkward results. Almost two in five women (39%) and just over one in four men (26%) said they experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the previous five years — this was mainly low-grade harassment involving minor issues such as suggestive comments or jokes (27%), intrusive questions (23%), and inappropriate staring (19%) rather than the more serious unwanted touching/kissing (19%) or inappropriate physical contact (19%).
The inconvenient truth about the high levels of harassment of men was quickly brushed aside by suggesting women may engage in such behaviour as ‘honorary men’ to ‘fit in’ with the dominant culture. Besides, the report added, there was research suggesting that “women’s and men’s perceptions of sexual harassment by the opposite sex tend to differ, with men typically finding sexual harassment by women ‘to be amusing or at least not serious’”. Oh well, that’s ok then. Good reason to just move on.
And move on they did – onto their real agenda, namely presenting sexual harassment as a form of gendered violence. It’s a tactic that precludes any possibility of men being seen as victims. And it invites all the powerful domestic violence bureaucrats to join the celebration.
So, we find an HR industry magazine late last year quoting Patty Kinnersly, Chief Executive of the government’s key domestic violence body, Our Watch, celebrating the new positive duty on employers. Kinnersly neatly explains their broader agenda:
“Sexual harassment can be prevented, and change is possible… For women to be safe, they must be equal. Sexual harassment is more likely to occur where gender inequality is normalised.”
Easy-peasy — workplace sexual harassment morphs into a far larger animal requiring workplaces to promote “substantive equality between men and women” — feminist code for discrimination against men. The Morrison government wouldn’t come at that particular recommendation, pointing out they supported “equality of opportunity”. Dreyfus had no such qualms and implemented this and all other outstanding recommendations soon after taking office.
No wonder Kinnersly is happy. The Respect@Work report pushed through more money for her organisation and other key players in the industry. Our Watch is specifically required to carry out “social change strategies” targeting young people.
All of this is now part of the positive duty on workplaces, which includes:
- Employers promoting “recognition that sexual harassment is driven by gender inequality”.
- Before hiring, employers are told to check “a candidate’s support for gender equality”.
- They are required to train board members and company officers on feminist views of gender equality and sexual harassment, and
- They are to take “reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate sex discrimination”.
So, the broader feminist gender equality agenda becomes the responsibility of workplaces across the nation — how’s that for a breathtaking sleight of hand?
There’s more. There’s always more…
Read on at Bettina Arndt’s Substack.