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Politicians and judges in Australia will no longer be exempt from rules barring workplace sexual harassment, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Thursday.
Why it matters: Morrison has faced backlash for his government's management of sexual abuse scandals.
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The state of play: Currently, lawmakers, judges and public servants are exempt from complaints about gender discrimination at work due to a legal loophole, though they can still be prosecuted for sexual assault.
Employers will now be lawfully required to take a proactive approach in stopping gender discrimination.
Complainants will also be able to submit their complaint within a longer time window.
What he's saying: The changes proposed Thursday are "about getting everyone on as much of a playing field as possible," Morrison told reporters.
"Sexual harassment is unacceptable," Morrison added.
"It’s not only immoral and despicable and even criminal, but … it denies Australians, especially women, not just their personal security but their economic security by not being safe at work."
The big picture: Australia has seen nationwide protests in recent months following rape allegations against public officials.
"Critics said the cases, and the government’s apparent initial reluctance to act, have highlighted a 'toxic' and sexist culture in Australia’s Parliament," Reuters writes.
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