The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has responded to disturbing workplace revelations from within the Australian Border Force (ABF). 

The Australian Border Force (ABF) has apologised to its staff for failing to prevent “workplace misconduct” including sexual discrimination and harassment within the agency.

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has found that bullying and harassment have been “normalised” in some areas of the ABF. 

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Anna Cody says gender inequality has created unsafe environments for women and noted “potentially unlawful conduct”.

The AHRC’s investigation found a lack of consequences for perpetrators, with some accused officers in the ABF’s marine unit transferred rather than punished. 

The AHRC report on the marine unit found 100 per cent of surveyed women had “witnessed sex discrimination, sexual ... and/or sex-based harassment”, and 78 per cent had experienced it. 

Instances included misogynistic comments, withholding information from a pregnant officer, and a team leader’s remarks about wanting to “get rid of all his part-time workers” who were all women.

CPSU assistant national secretary, Melissa Payne, said “CPSU members in these workplaces have been advocating for safe and respectful workplaces for years”.

“Their advocacy was met with defensiveness, denial and resistance from ABF leadership time and time again,”

Payne called on the ABF to “proactively engage with workers and their union to ensure reforms are effective, comprehensive, robust and properly implemented”.

The union has also called for a new intervention to address safety issues including “contaminated drinking water, mould, broken ventilation systems, major fire risks, actual fires, faulty safety equipment, vessel rollovers, ongoing risks of rollovers, and more”.