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Feminism's workplace gulags

By Bettina Arndt - posted Thursday, 1 February 2024

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 goal posts 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".

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This article was first published on Bettina Arndt.

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About the Author

Bettina Arndt is a social commentator.

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