Australia's first women's cabinet taskforce has carved out a small set of incremental workplace reforms from those recommended in a landmark sex discrimination report, while leaving most of the meaningful reforms on the cutting room floor.
The focus was also subtly shifted from ensuring women's safety at work to an appeal for a return to greater societal respect - a deflection as obvious as it is cynical.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the government has "embraced" all 55 of the recommendations in the Respect@Work report by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins.
Weasel words and spurious agreement can be found throughout the taskforce's responses that come more than 12 months after Ms Jenkins' report was delivered to government.
The government stops short of promising to deliver needed funding for support services for women, which will be considered in future budgets.
Other core initiatives in the report, the government believes Ms Jenkins' intent can instead be achieved through other means.
A positive duty for employers to take reasonable and proportionate measures to curb sex discrimination in their workplace could be "confusing" for both victims and employers, the government claimed.
It dismissed the recommendation to legislate an employer onus, citing partial overlap with model work health and safety laws. Those laws have not been implemented across all states and territories, and don't go as far as the proposed obligations in the Jenkins' plan.
Another recommendation to beef up the sex discrimination commissioner's powers to investigate systemic sexual harassment in workplaces needed more consideration, the government said, as it could undermine the cooperative model of the Human Rights Commission. However the government liked the idea of giving Ms Jenkins those same powers if she were acting not under her own direction, but instead when directed by government.
These were major omissions, but Ms Jenkins was gracious on Thursday, accepting the smaller package as a positive step and simply noting the "missed opportunity" from dropping the employer duty.
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