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Australia’s defamation laws are hindering the #MeToo movement: Video

During this session from 2018's Radio Alive Conference, a panel including Tracey Spicer, Virginia Trioli and Jonathon Moran discuss the impact of the #MeToo movement in the workplace.

During the following video from the 2018 Radio Alive Conference, Tracey Spicer, the journalist behind some of Australia’s biggest #metoo stories, explains why the movement here has resulted in less affirmative action than in the US.

“There has been less traction in [the #MeToo movement in] Australia for a couple of reasons. One is because we’re very conservative. Another is we have some of the most restrictive defamation laws in the western world, and we don’t have the proper free speech protections that they have in the United States. So it’s been very difficult from an investigative journalist’s perspective,” Spicer says of the challenges facing Australia.

“However, in the workplace, I’ve seen tremendous change happen at the very top end of town. There’s really hardcore stuff happening at the executive and board level of most of the blue-chip companies.”

Spicer goes on to explain how Australia’s media industry is falling behind, particularly commercial radio.

“Where I’m not seeing change happening in the workplaces is in the media sector, and particularly in places like commercial radio. I’ve worked across all the mediums, and some of the most toxic workplaces have been in commercial radio. And I think that’s a terrible change. I think the sector needs to really look at getting more women in positions of management, taking these things seriously, looking at world’s best practice. Diversity and inclusion is good for the bottom line, and you need to have safe workplaces,” she says.

Jonathon Moran, entertainment editor at News Corp’s The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, believes there are some key differences between the movements in Australia and the US.

“I think everyone was at first a bit more careful, but it’s not the same as it was in America. I think what’s been interesting is the appetite for #MeToo in Australia was really quite full on for a second there, and then the dust died down and it’s back to business,” he says, noting we discuss it less, people are no longer as closely monitoring their behaviour, and it’s generally “back to business”.

“And I think that’s the risk. I think we need to be more careful and I think we need to continue the conversation,” he says.

To see more videos from this year’s Radio Alive Conference, click here.

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