No place for sexual harassment and assault in our music industry

Tuesday, 12 Dec 2017

APRA AMCOS commends the Open Letter to the Australian Music Industry published in The Industry Observer today. We respectfully note the courage and honesty of the women who have shared their personal, painful and difficult stories of harassment and abuse in this letter. We also recognise and acknowledge the advocacy of the women who have signed the Open Letter in support of their colleagues.

This is an important and necessary conversation. The behaviours described in the Open Letter are completely unacceptable, not to mention unlawful. All of us in the industry have a responsibility to listen, engage and do what we can to address the attitudes and structures that enable these behaviours, and to continue to do that work until it is no longer necessary.

As one of Australia and New Zealand music's peak industry bodies, as well as an employer of almost 390 staff, APRA AMCOS takes its responsibilities to provide a safe and fair workplace very seriously. Respect and collaboration are core to our purpose and our way of working. Beyond words and policies, we have, over time, steadily invested in concrete actions in our workplace and initiatives to enable an environment that is free from discrimination, harassment, vilification and bullying, where all employees, members and music customers are treated fairly and with respect, regardless of gender or ethnicity.

These actions include:

  • Providing and upholding robust, accessible and clear policies on discrimination, harassment, bullying and vilification, supported by an active program of education and awareness raising which is compulsory for all staff and managers
  • Access to free, confidential, 24/7 counselling support for all staff and their immediate families
  • Responsive, sensitive and thorough management and resolution of grievances raised by employees, members or clients
  • A clear Staff Code of Conduct that calls on all staff to avoid offending, intimidating or humiliating others and requires them to behave in a professional, courteous, ethical and responsive manner
  • Commitment to an Industry Code of Conduct that upholds fairness, transparency and equity
  • An established whistleblower policy that encourages staff to report any known or suspected serious wrongdoing within the organisation without fear of reprisal or retribution
  • Ensuring equal gender representation across all levels of staff and management, except the top table and, recognising this gap, investing in the professional development of APRA AMCOS senior women through our Women in Leadership program, to build a pipeline of future women leaders who will be able to fill future vacancies at this top table
  • Ensuring gender pay equity by conducting annual gender pay equity reviews
  • Restructuring our grants and awards schemes to ensure gender equity amongst recipients of APRA Cultural Funding and APRA Awards
  • Through our Live Music Office, participating in the Victorian pilot to combat sexual harassment at live music events
  • Through our Waltzing Matildas Showcases, providing information about how women can protect themselves from online abuse and harassment and the difference that bystanders can make if they witness harassment
  • Piloting and now implementing BeSpoke, a customised program developed by APRA AMCOS women for women in our workplace to help them develop confidence in their voice and presence

While this work is substantial and safeguards these standards within our organisation, the #meNOmore Open Letter is a timely reminder that there is still so much more to be done to ensure a safe and fair workplace for all in our industry. We remain committed to this work and to working with women in our company and our industry towards a more inclusive, safer and fairer work environment.

"The #meNOmore statement is a powerful one. I hope it gives our industry pause and the motivation to be better and to do better by women from all ranks and sectors of the music business. APRA AMCOS, including myself and the APRA board, are steadfastly committed to fostering an inclusive and safe environment, where music creators can flourish and professionals can grow and learn. We put the entire music industry at risk if behaviour such as that shared in the Open Letter is tolerated or ignored", said APRA Chair, Jenny Morris

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