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  • David Toll

Bullying and Harassment in Australian Border Force is rife.

Updated: May 7

Bullying and harassment are normalised within Australian Border Force (ABF) according to a report by the Australian Human Rights Commission. Sexual Harassment and discrimination have been reported by 100% of female staff who participated in a recent survey and 78% of those staff have directly experienced it. 

An average workplace in Australia reportedly experiences an unacceptable high level of about 25% of staff witnessing or experiencing bullying, harassment or sexual harassment/discrimination. Emergency services (Ambulance, Police, Fire Services, SES and prisons), which are essentially para- military organisations similar to ABF, report levels of up to 45% of staff experiencing this type of workplace behaviour. These levels do not appear to be abating despite having known about the issue for years and years.

The article written by Lenore Taylor on the ABF circumstance states that there is a lack of leadership in action and accountability relating to unlawful and inappropriate behaviour. Nobody would be surprised about this conclusion. What is surprising is that the 'leaders' in each of these organisations, have had suggestions and recommendations provide to them over time which could make a meaningful difference to the culture of their organisations, to the mental health and wellbeing of their staff and to the reputation of the public service that they are responsible for. It does not seem unreasonable to expect that strategies to reduce these instances of unacceptable workplace behaviour will reduce quickly, should be presented to the public by these leaders. These strategies must include external providers who will not shy away from directly addressing the internal problems which exist.

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