More than a dozen Australian companies have come under scrutiny in recent weeks after a spate of allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct involving high-profile senior executives.
Key points: The allegations have forced the CEOs of six of the companies into retirement, while the CEOs have been suspended from their roles and their boards have been asked to consider changes They have raised concerns over whether they are complying with new anti-discrimination laws in Australia, which have come into effect on October 1, and the fact that some of the executives are now retiring The companies include the top two players in the Australian mining industry: Anglo American, which owns Anglo Gold and Goldcorp, and Glencore, which has stakes in a number of Australia’s major mining companies.
A spate of alleged sexual misconduct and harassment allegations against the CEOs and board members of these six Australian companies has prompted a review of Australia, led by the Senate Select Committee on Industry and Innovation (CSIRO), which is investigating whether Australia’s anti-sex discrimination laws are being applied to the Australian mines and mining companies operating in the country.
The inquiry, which is also examining the way in which the Australian government is addressing sexual harassment, has been spurred by a string of new allegations of misconduct against prominent Australian mining executives, including a high-ranking former executive from Anglo American.
“The CSIRO is currently examining the conduct of senior executives of Anglo American and GoldCorp in relation to allegations of conduct and behaviour which have led to the suspension of their employment,” the CSIRO said in a statement on Thursday.
“This includes allegations of inappropriate behaviour involving sexual harassment.”
As part of the review, the inquiry has also identified specific steps that could be taken to better protect the interests of employees, including providing training to senior management, ensuring compliance with new legislation and introducing new measures to address the systemic nature of sexual misconduct.
“The CSRIA said the CSRIO would also examine the ways in which senior management is addressing the systemic behaviour, and whether they have the necessary training and guidance in place to implement such training and to improve the systems and processes that are in place.”
The inquiry has been led by Senator Nick Xenophon, a former senior senator who was instrumental in securing the passage of Australia and New Zealand anti-corruption legislation, and Senator Chris Pyne, who was the first minister in the Coalition government to introduce the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act in May 2015.
Senator Pyne said he was “delighted” to see that Australia was taking the lead in addressing sexual misconduct.
“I think that this is the right time for Australia to get behind this, and I look forward to seeing the evidence and seeing what is in place,” he said.
“We need to have strong anti-sexual harassment legislation in place and we need to be doing that in a way that is not inconsistent with the Australian human rights laws.”‘
The Australian people are not looking to go backwards’In his statement, Senator Pyne highlighted the importance of the inquiry, saying: “The Australian public are not yet looking to reverse the progress of this country.
We must make sure that this inquiry is successful.”
The investigation has so far found that senior managers at some of Australias largest mining companies, including Anglo American , have been accused of sexual assault and misconduct.
In addition, the investigation has found that the senior executives at Glencore have also been accused by multiple women of sexual abuse.
The report also found that, in one instance, a woman who worked as a senior executive for Anglo American in 2014 alleged she was sexually assaulted by another senior executive, and she was subsequently suspended from the company.
The Senate inquiry has already been criticised for failing to fully investigate the allegations, and for failing in its mandate to report on all aspects of AustraliaSydney-based lawyer and human rights activist Catherine Macpherson said that while the inquiry had not investigated all the allegations made against the leaders of the six Australian mining companies it had uncovered enough evidence to conclude that there was a problem.
“It’s clear that the Australian people aren’t looking to see Australia backwards,” Ms Macphersons comments, who has previously led the Coalition’s Coalition to the election.
“There are people who have done the right thing, and people who haven’t.”
They are looking at whether they’re complying with the new laws that have come in and the new processes that have been introduced in the wake of the report by the inquiry.””
We know that there are companies who are doing very well, but there are also companies who have failed.
“Ms Macphersson added that she believed the inquiry would be “very helpful” in helping to identify those companies that were “not doing enough”.”
It might be a bit premature to conclude what it’s going to be, but I think it’s likely that it will be useful in identifying some of those companies,” she said.
She said she had no doubts that the inquiry was “doing the right job” and that “the Australian people deserve the truth” about what is