Legislative Council: Tuesday, September 06, 2022


We're Equal Campaign

The Hon. T.T. NGO (15:29): My question is to the Attorney-General. Will the Attorney-General inform the chamber about the current We're Equal campaign being run by the Office of the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:30): I thank the honourable member for his question and his interest in this area. On 15 August, the Office of the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity commenced a month-long campaign pilot for We're Equal, a public facing campaign to help South Australian businesses provide an easily identifiable safe work environment that is free from discrimination, bullying and harassment.

The Office of the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity in South Australia is responsible for administering the Equal Opportunity Act 1984, which covers four main areas of discrimination: age, disability and accessibility, race and culture, and relationships, including gender, sexuality, pregnancy, marriage status and association with a child, such as breastfeeding.

The We're Equal campaign promotes respect and inclusion across all these areas. The campaign with participating businesses involves publicly displaying a signed statement of commitment which pledges the business commitment to treating everyone equally, regardless of their age, ability, gender, diversity, sexuality, relationship and reproductive status, race, religion and culture, and committing to a vision of Australia as an open inclusive society that embraces and supports difference and diversity. This means ensuring that their premises are a safe space for all people and there is zero tolerance for discrimination or disrespectful behaviours, whether to or by customers, staff, suppliers or contractors.

Also displayed at participating businesses are posters explaining the campaign purpose and showing a QR code, which customers are then encouraged to stand and register with the campaign. Registration provides customers with a digital badge demonstrating support for South Australia being an open inclusive society, free from discrimination and harassment, and customers are then given the opportunity to access the free campaign-branded water bottle—I have one in my office, I am pleased to say.

With the We're Equal campaign branding on display the customers are encouraged to take a photo and post it on social media, with the tag #wereequalsa to further generate support and spread the conversation about harassment-free workplaces. Research shows that businesses that actively support diversity inclusion have loyal customers willing to support and champion them, have better staff productivity and retention and achieve higher standards of service delivery.

Any business wanting to sign up can go to the equal opportunity website and register their interest. There are a number of Adelaide businesses, including cafes, bars and other hospitality services, that are already taking part in the trial. I would encourage people to pay a visit to those who have signed up. There are a number: My Kingdom for a Horse, I paid a visit to its Wright Street premises and I know they are keen supporters of this. Banksia Tree Cafe in Port Adelaide is also a keen supporter, Billy's Table in Croydon and The Paint Box in Hahndorf are a number of our businesses right across the metropolitan area and Hills that have signed up.

I would encourage members, if they are interested, to go onto the Equal Opportunity Commission of South Australia website and participate. Should the We're Equal campaign pilot continue to be successful in its remaining weeks, I am sure it will have a broader rollout and application. I wish to thank the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity for leading this campaign and sending a strong message of zero tolerance towards discriminatory behaviour and the importance of respect and inclusivity to South Australian businesses, their staff and customers.