How Raff Ciccone voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should increase legal protections for women in the workplace, particularly in respect to sex discrimination and harassment

Division Raff Ciccone Supporters vote Division outcome

1st Sep 2021, 6:28 PM – Senate Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021 - in Committee - Overly high threshold

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The same number of senators voted for and against an amendment introduced by Queensland Senator Larissa Waters (Greens), which means it failed.

What does the amendment do?

Senator Waters explained that:

While we welcome the new offence of sex based harassment, the bill sets the threshold for establishing sex based harassment as unwelcome conduct that is 'seriously demeaning'. That's a very high threshold. Many submitters, including the commission themselves, said that that was an inappropriately high bar that would prevent women from coming forward.

Amendment text

(1) Schedule 1, item 60, page 14 (line 19), omit "seriously".

absent Yes Not passed

1st Sep 2021, 6:05 PM – Senate Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021 - in Committee - Unions, complaints mechanism and sex-based harassment

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The majority voted against amendments introduced by NSW Senator Jenny McAllister (Labor), which means they failed.

What do the amendments do?

There were three separate sheets of amendments.

Senator McAllister explained that sheet 1385 was introduced to implement recommendation 23 of the Respect@Work report, which is:

Amend the Australian Human Rights Commission Act to allow unions and other representative groups to bring representative claims to court, consistent with the existing provisions in the Australian Human Rights Commission Act that allow unions and other representative groups to bring a representative complaint to the Commission.

In respect to sheet 1381, she said that:

These amendments perform a very important role in the way that workplace sexual harassment and sex based harassment are dealt with under the Fair Work Act. Workers who are sexually harassed do need access to a fair, effective and efficient complaints mechanism, and this set of amendments would establish this.

And in respect to sheet 1399, she said that:

These amendments are quite straightforward. They pick up two recommendations made by the Australian Human Rights Commission in their submission to the Senate inquiry on this bill. In their submission, the commission note that the bill explicitly provides that not only sexual harassment but also other sex based harassment is prohibited. This reflects the experience of many people who experience harassment at work that is on the basis of their sex but is not sexual in nature. The Human Rights Commission said this:

The important changes in the Bill to the Fair Work Act (and regulations) in relation to sexual harassment should also encompass the new legislative concept of sex-based harassment. That is, the Fair Work Commission should be able to issue a 'stop sex-based harassment order' and employers should be given the confidence that if an employee engages in sex-based harassment this will be a valid reason for the termination of their employment.

Amendment text

The amendment text is available on sheets 1381, 1385 and 1399.

absent Yes Not passed by a small majority

1st Sep 2021, 12:13 PM – Senate Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021 - in Committee - Prohibition against sexual harassment

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The same number of senators voted for and against amendments introduced by NSW Senator Jenny McAllister (Labor), which means they failed.

What do the amendments do?

Senator McAllister explained that:

These amendments implement an important—but, of course, again ignored—recommendation of the Respect@Work report. They create in the Fair Work Act the expressed prohibition of sexual harassment. For clarity, this is the act that governs the workplaces of Australians. It strikes me extremely strange—but I'm not surprised—that the government has failed to accept or implement this very important recommendation. The act confers functions and powers on the commission, including the power to conciliate sexual harassment complaints.

Amendment text

The amendment text is available on sheet 1405.

absent Yes Not passed

1st Sep 2021, 12:01 PM – Senate Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021 - in Committee - Substantive gender equality

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The same number of senators voted for and against an amendment introduced by Queensland Senator Larissa Waters (Greens), which means it failed.

Amendment text

(1) Schedule 1, item 31, page 8 (lines 6 and 7), omit "to achieve, so far as practicable, equality of opportunity between men and women", substitute "to achieve substantive gender equality".

absent Yes Not passed

1st Sep 2021, 11:45 AM – Senate Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021 - in Committee - Cost protection

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The majority voted against amendments introduced by Queensland Senator Larissa Waters (Greens), which means they failed.

What is the purpose of the amendments?

Senator Waters explained that:

These amendments pertain to costs and providing cost protections for complainants. As we all know, financial risks are a significant barrier to seeking justice, particularly for workers making complaints. I note that at the Senate inquiry into the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021, rushed though it may have been, the Women's Legal Centre ACT said:

We're disappointed that the bill fails to provide a cost protection provision for complainants. Many women worry that they will not be believed and will be forced to pay the other side's legal fees. In the case of large businesses and government departments, these fees can be so significant that the average person would face financial ruin. It's no surprise many women decide not to take this gamble.

The recommendation in the Respect@Work report to provide cost protection was justified; it was unequivocal and it was very sensible.

Amendment text

The amendment text is available on sheet 1371.

absent Yes Not passed by a small majority

1st Sep 2021, 11:29 AM – Senate Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021 - in Committee - Positive duty amendment

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The same number of senators voted for and against amendments introduced by NSW Senator Jenny McAllister (Labor), which means they failed. The amendments were a joint Labor and Greens initiative that would have inserted a positive duty

What is the purpose of the amendments?

Senator McAllister explained that:

... right now the tool we rely on to get workplaces to become safer is an individual making a complaint. When surveyed, Australian women overwhelmingly say, yes, they have been sexually harassed at work, often in the last 12 months. The numbers are extraordinary. Most of them don't make a complaint ... Women correctly apprehend that their careers, their livelihoods and their reputations are at stake when they are the complainant, and most women choose to remain silent. And the conclusion we should draw from all of those data points is that this is not an effective mechanism to make our workplaces safer ... It's on that basis that Labor has concluded that we do wish to move here amendments to insert a positive duty obligation onto employers, consistent with the recommendation made by Commissioner Jenkins.

... We are aware that we need to make sure that a positive duty does not create an unreasonable burden on employers, so the way our amendment is drafted will ensure that, consistent with recommendation 17, the measures required to fill a positive duty must be reasonable and proportionate, taking into account factors that include the size of the person's business or operations, the nature and circumstances of the business and operations, the person's resources, the person's business and operational priorities, the practicability and cost of the measures, and all other relevant facts and circumstances.

Amendment text

Available on sheet 1369.

absent Yes Not passed

How "never voted" is worked out

Normally a person's votes count towards a score which is used to work out a simple phrase to summarise their position on a policy. However in this case Raff Ciccone was absent during all divisions for this policy. So, it's impossible to say anything concrete other than that they have "never voted" on this policy.