SENATOR THE HON SIMON BIRMINGHAM
Minister for Finance
THE HON BEN MORTON MP
Special Minister of State
Date: Tuesday, 15 February 2022
The Government welcomes the passage of legislation today recommended by the Jenkins Report to provide additional protections to staff of Parliamentarians.
The Parliamentary Workplace Reform (Set the Standard Measures No. 1) Bill 2022 makes changes to four pieces of legislation in order to implement recommendations 17 and 24 of the Jenkins Report.
“This Bill provides additional protections to employees of parliamentarians and provides a clear intent that not only the Government but the Parliament is committed to working together to implement the recommendations of the Jenkins Report,” Minister Birmingham said.
The Bill provides additional protections to MOPS Act employees by:
- amending the Members of Parliament Staff Act 1984 (MOP(S) Act) to strengthen and clarify the employment rights of MOPS Act employees
- clarifying that the Age Discrimination Act 2004 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 apply to people employed under the (MOP(S) Act).
- removing any doubt that the Fair Work Act 2009 applies to MOPS Act employees by making it explicit that parliamentarians are required to provide written reasons and additional information as to why an employees is being terminated
- amending the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to clarify that parliamentarians are officers of the Commonwealth for the purposes of the Work Health and Safety Act.
The Parliament has also established a Joint Select Committee on Parliamentary Standards to inquire into and report on matters relating to the development of codes of conduct for Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces, meeting a further recommendation of the Jenkins Report.
The Committee will hear the views of stakeholders including current and former staff of Commonwealth Parliamentarians in order to develop codes of conduct, including recommendations on ways to enforce these codes, to ensure safe and respectful workplaces. The Committee is due to report by 1 November 2022.
“The progress in recent weeks to implement a number of Jenkins Review recommendations is another important step to drive the cultural and practical change necessary to make our Parliamentary workplaces safer,” Minister Morton said.
The Government looks forward to continuing to work constructively with colleagues across the Parliament to make the changes we need to ensure our workplace is safe, supportive and respectful.