I was recently informed about a report, conducted by Professor Meredith Nash, into culture and behaviour at the Australian Antarctic Division.
Professor Nash spoke to staff who have experienced sexual harassment, exclusion and marginalisation, particularly while stationed in Antarctica.
When I was briefed on this for the first time, and when I read people’s stories, I was shocked and I was disappointed.
Let me be absolutely clear: there is no place for sexual harassment or inappropriate behaviour in any workplace.
Just this week the Government introduced the Respect at Work legislation. This legislation backs in our commitment to safe and respectful workplaces, everywhere.
The Australian Antarctic Division is no exception. Our remote stations in Antarctica are no exception.
I want you to know how seriously I take this report.
The treatment outlined in the report was, and is, unacceptable.
The Department is working through the recommendations of the Report.
I know that cultural change has already begun at the Australian Antarctic Division. I want to thank everyone who has been part of this.
More change is needed.
The work the Division does is critical: for our national interest, for science and the environment, for the future of this planet.
It’s far too important to be tainted and diminished by prejudice and harassment.
Hon Tanya Plibersek MP
Minister for the Environment and Water