Respect at work

A message from the Secretary of the Department of Defence and the Chief of the Defence Force

1 February 2024

Our culture reflects who we are as an organisation and is fundamental to achieving our Defence mission. We all have a right to feel safe, respected and heard at work and we all play a role in building a diverse and inclusive Defence culture. This is in line with the newly released Defence Culture Blueprint program, which is underpinned by Defence Values and Behaviours.

In 2022, the Government introduced the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Act 2022 (Cth) to address the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace. This imposed a new positive duty on all public and private sector employers and persons conducting a business or undertaking to take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate, as far as possible, certain discriminatory conduct.

Measures to enforce the positive duty commenced on Tuesday 12 December 2023. These measures include a legal obligation on Defence to take proactive and meaningful action to prevent relevant unlawful conduct from occurring in the workplace or in connection with the workplace. Organisations, including Defence, must now under law actively prevent workplace sexual harassment, sex discrimination and other relevant unlawful conduct rather than respond only after it occurs.

All Defence personnel have a responsibility to:

  • Promote a positive workplace culture and experience, ensuring that Defence Values and Behaviours are upheld.
  • Ensure unacceptable behaviour does not occur in our teams and units.
  • Educate and equip yourself using resources on the Defence Respect@Work intranet page.
  • Take reasonable care of your own health and safety while at work, and not negatively impact the health and safety of others.

The Defence Respect@Work Framework holds the Senior Leader Group accountable for:

  • Preventing and responding to unacceptable behaviours. This obligation extends to all Defence activities, including activities outside regular workplaces, in training institutions, on operations, in social interactions, online and when travelling.
  • ‚ÄčEnsuring their workforce is aware, informed and educated about what constitutes unacceptable behaviour, how to intervene if they see it and how to report it.

As an organisation, Defence has responsibility for the Respect@Work program and everyone has a part to play in ensuring that unacceptable behaviour does not occur in any environment.

Defence will work to identify systemic risks and actively mitigate them to prevent the occurrence of unacceptable behaviours in our many, varied and unique workplaces.

If you have any questions, email dpg-ppc-cpd.valuesbehaviours@defence.gov.au. For more information, visit the Respect@Work website.

Greg Moriarty

Secretary

Department of Defence

Angus J Campbell AO DSC

General

Chief of the Defence Force