Sexual Harrassment, South Australia Police

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN (14:59): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Police a question.

Leave granted.

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN: My question follows on from the Hon. Mr Wade’s question yesterday regarding the Equal Opportunity Commission’s report. It has been recently reported in the media that 10 new investigations into sexual harassment or predatory behaviour within SAPOL have occurred since the release of the Equal Opportunity Commission’s report and two cases have been dealt with through managerial intervention and training.

Can the minister advise the chamber what is being done within SAPOL to ensure that those persons in leadership positions, which is a smaller class of individuals, do not perpetrate these behaviours themselves or continue the culture that has driven these behaviours that have been repeatedly complained of both before and after the release of the commission’s report?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) (15:00): I thank the honourable member for his important question. As I stated yesterday, the issue of sexual harassment and discrimination within SAPOL is something that I am very glad SAPOL’s leadership is taking incredibly seriously, particularly the police commissioner himself, and as a result has instigated a number of efforts post the Equal Opportunity Commission’s report to ensure that this is the case going forward.

I understand the commissioner himself has worked extensively with SAPOL’s leadership team, particularly at a senior level, which I think is the context of the Hon. Mr McLachlan’s question, to ensure that the entire leadership team is doing everything they can to make sure that the cultural change that may be necessary within SAPOL does indeed occur.

I can confirm that as of April this year, 95 per cent of all SAPOL staff, I am advised, have had direct engagement with the review, including its implications and application. I understand that one of the actions that has been completed, which arises out of the Equal Opportunity Commission’s report, was to publish a statement that was endorsed by all members of the executive that acknowledges that sexual harassment and sex discrimination are unacceptable and apologises for the significant distress caused to victims and bystanders.

I would have thought that that is a significant step coming from all members of the executive of SAPOL—a significant step and an absolutely necessary and appropriate one, and nothing short of that would have been appropriate—but I think it does speak to the fact that the entire leadership team and executive within SAPOL are committed to this important cause.

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