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Making a complaint

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Private and confidential

When you contact the Parliamentary Workplace Support Service (PWSS) what you tell us will remain confidential.

You can choose to tell us your identity, use a pseudonym, or remain anonymous, and receive support and make a complaint.

When you contact the PWSS your case coordinator will explain how your privacy and confidentiality will be respected through the process. All staff and workplace reviewers are bound by confidentiality and will not share your information without your consent except where it is required by law such as when there is an imminent threat to you or someone else’s safety, where a workplace health or safety risk is identified, or during criminal investigations or court proceedings.

To find out how we handle your personal information read our Privacy Policy.

Local resolution

Sometimes a person may be acting in a way that makes you uncomfortable or angry, but you do not want to start a complaint or workplace review.

We can work with you to find a local resolution.

When you contact us we will talk through options we could facilitate that may help resolve the issue. Options could include:

  • an apology
  • an agreement from the person that they will stop the behaviour
  • action by your manager such as giving the person a warning
  • changing arrangements in the workplace
  • where appropriate, mediation (where the parties come together to resolve the issue with an experienced mediator).

Independent workplace reviews

Where current and former MOPS Act employees or parliamentarians have experienced workplace conflict involving another MOPS Act employee or parliamentarian, it may be appropriate for a workplace review to be undertaken. The purpose of a workplace review is to gather the facts, find out what has happened and make recommendations for action.

If someone has made a complaint about you and it proceeds to a workplace review, the PWSS will let you know a complaint has been made and support you through the process.

When is a workplace review appropriate?

There are a number of issues to consider before a workplace review is commissioned. For more detail on those issues, see Will a Workplace Review be commissioned?

If you disagree with a decision not to commission a workplace review, you can seek internal review of the decision. For more detail, see the Review of Decisions factsheet.

Who conducts the review?

The PWSS will engage an independent, expert reviewer with expertise in workplace misconduct and knowledge of the parliamentary environment.

How is the review conducted?

The review will be conducted according to principles of procedural fairness. This means each person is given the opportunity to take part in the process, give information to the review and respond to any reports made about them.

At the start of the review all parties, including any support people, will be asked to sign a good faith confidentiality agreement DOCX 64 KB. This is to protect the privacy of the parties and ensure the best outcome from the process. It will not stop you from getting the support you need throughout the process.

What happens after a workplace review?

The reviewer will provide a report to both parties to the complaint, as well as the employing parliamentarian (or parliamentarian, if they have engaged in the misconduct). The report will cover:

  • a summary of the complaint
  • an outline of the process
  • recommendations for action.

Depending on the outcome of the review, the reviewer can recommend different consequences and set timeframes for action. The employing parliamentarian will be expected to act on the recommendations. If they do not act, the CEO of the PWSS will discuss the report with them and encourage them to act on the recommendations. A further failure to act will result in the PWSS referring the report to the relevant Presiding Officer, who will refer it to the Privileges Committee for appropriate consideration.

Resolutions have been made by both Houses to facilitate this process.

These processes will not apply to a former parliamentarian or MOPS Act employees but other options may be available in the event the workplace review finds there was unacceptable conduct.

Review of a workplace decision

You will be given the opportunity to comment on any adverse findings against you before they are finalised by the reviewer. If you disagree with the outcome of the review you can seek secondary review of the decision by a different independent reviewer.

Relationship with other processes

Proceeding to a workplace review will not prevent a person from taking action through other complaint processes such as the Australian Human Rights Commission or Fair Work Commission.