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(AUSTRALIA) Parliament Report: Training to deal with sexual assault, bullying and harassment will not happen until September at the earliest, will go for as little as an hour and will be optional for MPs #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – July.15: The training was introduced after Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins alleged she was raped in the Parliament House office of then-defence minister Linda Reynolds. The matter is now the subject of a police investigation.

#AceDailyNews says this is how Parliament is going to deal with sexual harrassement claims …One hour, optional: MP’s anti-sexual-assault-bullying-harrassment training revealed

A woman on a stage
Training to deal with sexual assault was promised after Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins alleged she was raped in a minister’s office at Parliament House (Supplied)

Tender documents seeking an organisation to “deliver training to promote a safe and respectful workplace” reveal details of the program.

‘Option to attend’

Parliamentarians will be “given the option to attend” a one-hour face-to-face training session with office managers and chiefs of staff at Parliament House or in electorate offices.

Junior staff will be given a two-hour session that may become mandatory.

By the end of the session, managers and MPs should be able to understand “behaviours [that] do or do not constitute assault, sexual assault, sexual harassment and serious and systemic bullying and harassment”.

They should also be able to understand workplace health and safety obligations as an employer and what is needed to “provide a safe and respectful workplace”.

The training will use practical examples about how to prevent sexual assault, sexual harassment, and serious and systemic bullying, as well as how to support impacted people.

The hour-long session will also detail how to “respond appropriately to a disclosure” and give advice on “reporting options” for incidents.

Trainers told to prepare for learners with little awareness

An investigation into the environment of Parliament House in the wake of Ms Higgins’s alleged sexual assault, called the Review of the Parliamentary Workplace: Responding to Serious Incidents, proposed new ways of dealing with serious incidents.

Those proposed measures were a “trauma-informed support system”, an independent complaints mechanism and a face-to-face tailored workplace education program.

This tender is for the last element.

A woman with blonde hair  looking upward wearing a black and white striped blazer
Attorney-General Michaelia Cash said legislation to make politicians liable for sexual harassment in their workplace would be introduced this year.(ABC News: Adam Kennedy)

The people doing the training are told to prepare for a broad audience that may know little about occupational health and safety, sexual harassment or reporting incidents. Pilot sessions have already been held in parliamentary offices.

Trainers will be required to “demonstrate adaptability and flexibility, given differences across parliamentary offices and differing levels of awareness”: deliver information in a way that is “engaging, non-judgmental and sensitive to dynamics in the room” and present with “a demonstrated awareness of the parliamentary context”.

A statement from the Department of Finance confirmed the details of the training.

“Finance offers induction and ongoing training and support to parliamentarians and … employees in relation to their work, health and safety obligations,” a spokesperson said. “These training modules include workplace bullying and harassment and guidance on sexual harassment.”

The statement went on to note the training was a recommendation from the Foster Report that was designed to “equip parliamentarians, managers and staff to understand their workplace health and safety responsibilities” and give them the tools to deal with unacceptable behaviour.

A number of offices, including the Prime Minister’s, have already participated in pilot training programs focusing on workplace safety.

The approach to market, seeking a company, closes on August 6. The contract will end almost a year later, on June 30, 2022.

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: July.15: 2021:

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