Message from the President, Michael McHugh SC


The New South Wales Bar Association welcomes the release today of the Federal Government’s response to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work report recommendations.

The Association acknowledges and will carefully review the Government’s Roadmap for Respect, developed in response to the landmark report.

Every person deserves to feel safe, respected and free from sexual harassment in their workplace and community. The Bar is no exception and each of us have a role to play in achieving this. I encourage members to take the time to review the Roadmap.

We cannot tackle this problem alone, and will continue to work closely with chambers, the Law Council of Australia, Australian Bar Association, Office of the Legal Services Commissioner and many others to address these matters, and to advocate to Attorneys-General at a state and federal level. At a recent Heads of Chambers meeting, the Bar Council Executive outlined a number of initiatives including updated Best Practice Guidelines for chambers and that will utilise a WHS lens.

Our ongoing work to combat sexual harassment involves advocating for significant policy, cultural and organisational change within the Bar, the legal profession and our broader community. It is critical that we keep the momentum going to address this issue, and the release of the Government’s response today is an important step.

Members may recall the Association made a submission to the AHRC’s National inquiry into sexual harassment in 2019, which is available here.

Further information and resources, including the Association’s factsheet titled “Who can I talk to about sexual harassment at the Bar?”, is available here.

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