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Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces

Discrimination Sex Discrimination
Parliament House, Canberra

Make a Submission to the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces

The Australian Human Rights Commission (Commission) was seeking submissions to inform the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces (the Review).  A submission is a written contribution to the Review.

The Commission sought written contributions from:

  • current and former Commonwealth parliamentarians (Members and Senators)
  • people who work or have previously worked for Commonwealth parliamentarians (Members and Senators), including but not limited to:
    • people employed under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 (Cth)
    • workers in electorate offices
  • other current and former workers in Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces, including but not limited to:
    • people employed under the Public Service Act 1999 (Cth) and the Parliamentary Services Act 1999 (Cth)
    • hospitality, retail, cleaning, security and other service provider workers within the Parliament of Australia
    • journalists and other media workers
  • volunteers, interns and students in Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces
  • organisations and experts that have direct experience or expertise in the areas under Review (as outlined in the Terms of Reference for the Review which are available here).

Note, the term ‘worker’ is broad and is intended to include individuals engaging in paid and unpaid work, such as employees, contractors and subcontractors (and employees of contractors and subcontractors), labour hire workers, apprentices and trainees, students, interns and volunteers.

This form includes questions about the workplace culture of Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces. It also includes specific questions regarding risk factors for bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault for workers in Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces; awareness of relevant policies; training; reporting mechanisms; and available supports. The Commission would like to hear all experiences, including positive experiences.

Submissions have now closed.

Please contact the Review Team on (02) 9284 9799 or if you require further assistance.

Accessing Support

Writing about bullying, sexual harassment or sexual assault can be distressing.

If you become distressed either during or after completing your written contribution, please click here to find a list of national support services that provide counselling and other forms of support.


The Commission, in partnership with Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia, has developed a trauma-informed guide to support people who would like to share experiences of bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault with the Review. The guide provides information on what people should consider in participating and the potential impacts of such participation. You can download the guide below.


The Review is being conducted under UNSW Human Research Ethics Committee approval (HC Reference Number HC21064).  If you have any concerns about the ethical considerations of this Review, you can contact the UNSW Human Research Ethics Coordinator on (02) 9385 6222 or via email at, or you can raise your concerns with the Review Team.

  • What is this Review about? 

    The Review aims to build an understanding of the workplace culture, experiences and expectations of a safe and respectful work environment, and barriers to reporting bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault experienced at work within Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces. The Commission will publish a report setting out its findings and recommendations on these topics at the end of the Review.

  • Who is conducting this Review?

    The Review is being conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission and will be led by the Review Team and supported by other qualified Commission staff.

  • Do I have to be involved?

    Participation in this Review is voluntary. If you do not want to take part, you do not have to.

  • What does taking part involve?

    You can contribute to the Review by:

    • Making a submission, and/or
    • Participating in an online or in-person interview. If you would like to participate in an interview, please use the online booking form. 


    Please read the Participant Information Sheet and Consent Forms for more information.


  • What should I do if I have accessibility requirements?

    If you would like to be involved in the Review and want to discuss how the Commission can support your involvement by providing appropriate supports and/or adjustments, please contact the Review Team at or by calling (02) 9284 9799

  • What will happen to the information I provide?

    Personal Information

    By providing a submission to this Review, you consent to the Commission collecting and using the information you provide for the purposes of the Review.

    The Commission will produce a report on the findings of the Review. The Commission will also produce a progress update and other materials in connection with the Review. The reports and materials will be published on the Commission’s website under a Creative Commons licence with the contents available to be used freely for other purposes.

    The Commission will treat your name and personal information confidentially. Your name and other personal or identifying information will not be published in the report, or in any other Commission publication. If you consent to your submission and name being published on the Commission website, while your name may be published in the report and any other Commission publications, your personal information will be treated confidentially. 

    The information you provide may be drawn upon, quoted or referred to in the public report and other resources produced by the Commission in connection with the Review, but will not be attributed to you, and will not be used if its use could identify you or others.

    The Archives and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2021 (Cth) provides additional protections to ensure confidentiality. This Act provides participants in the Review with assurance that any submissions they make to the Review will be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) and will not come into an open access period under the Archives Act 1983 (Cth)for 99 years.  

    Information (including personal information) collected during the course of the Review will be stored in accordance with the Archives Act 1983 (Cth), the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth). 

    Further information regarding the personal information handling practices of the Commission is available on the Commission’s website, specifically in the Privacy Policy.

    Reporting Obligations

    While the Commission does not expect many young people to contribute to the Review, in certain circumstances, Commission staff and others involved in this Review may be obligated under relevant State and Territory laws to report to the relevant authorities, an act that involves abuse to a child, or an act that is a ‘serious indictable offence’. This is known as ‘mandatory reporting’. Mandatory reporting obligations may also arise in cases of suspected risk of future abuse or harm or incidents of historic child sex abuse. Whether mandatory reporting obligations are triggered in the course of this Review will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

    If the Commission is not required by law to report an act, it may still make a voluntary report to the relevant authorities, in circumstances where the Commission is concerned that serious harm has occurred, or is occurring, or may occur in the future, in accordance with the Commission’s Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy.

    The Commission may also be required to report to relevant authorities in other circumstances.

  • How and when will I find out the results of the Review?

    The Commission intends to publish a report on the findings and recommendations of the Review in November 2021. The Commission also intends to publish a progress update in July 2021. These documents will be publicly available on the Commission’s website. 

  • How is the Review being funded?

    The Federal Government is funding the Commission, on a cost recovery basis, to undertake the Review. The Commission is an independent Commonwealth statutory authority, which ensures the integrity of the Review and provides the participants with confidence in the process, no matter the source of funding.

  • Who can I contact if I have questions?

    If you would like any further information or have any questions concerning this Review, please contact the Review team via email at or via phone on (02) 9284 9799.