Australia Needs Federal Anti-Bullying Legislation!
by L. Thatcher
Australia needs federal anti-bullying legislation to ensure that bullying is a punishable offence sending a clear message to the bullying culture within Australian schools and workplaces. Currently victims and targets of bullying in schools and the workplace are forced to rely mostly on occupational health and safety or personal injury laws, which do not address bullying directly, making it necessary link it to other behaviours such as sexual harassment, discrimination or injury. Although there is various legislation used to address bullying in schools and the workplace, it is complicated and expensive and can take many years to achieve an outcome.
This can be a daunting outlook for victims who are already suffering emotionally and psychologically and can contribute to them being unable or unwilling to take legal action. Bullying thrives when victims and bystanders ‘do nothing.’ Legislation is needed that clearly defines and exposes bullying, allowing victims to seek urgent court orders to stop bullying conduct. Attaching jail terms to clearly defined bullying behaviours would deter many perpetrators, reducing the impact bullying is having on Australian society and economy.