Settlement of claims made against former High Court Justice Dyson Heydon
In 2019, three former High Court Judges' Associates made complaints to the High Court of Australia of sexual harassment. This prompted an investigation by Dr Vivienne Thom AM who investigated six claims in total.
The investigation found that the Hon Dyson Heydon AC QC, who served on the High Court until 2013, had sexually harassed all six complainants. Recently, the Commonwealth has engaged in good faith discussions with three of the Associates, Chelsea Tabart, Alexandra Eggerking and Rachael Collins.
This statement is made with the permission of Ms Tabart, Ms Eggerking and Ms Collins. Their claims against the Commonwealth have now been resolved. The Commonwealth has taken these claims very seriously. The settlements we have reached are consistent with that.
We recognise Ms Tabart's, Ms Eggerking's and Ms Collins' bravery at coming forward and telling their stories to Dr Thom, the High Court and other Australians. These women have told us about what they have been through during, and since, their times as Associates of the High Court and the serious impacts on their lives.
We have listened to them and we apologise.
Dr Thom made six recommendations to the High Court, in response to her investigation into the Associates' complaints.
All of Dr Thom's recommendations were accepted by the High Court. All of them have been acted upon. The practices of the High Court in responding to sexual harassment, and more importantly in attempting to prevent it from occurring, have been transformed.
The Australian Government takes sexual harassment seriously – harassment is unacceptable in any context, whether in the workplace or elsewhere.
The Sex Discrimination Commissioner's Respect@Work Inquiry found that sexual harassment is a societal problem that requires action by all to change.
The Australian Government is committed to working with all sectors and organisations to create a culture of safe and respectful behaviour in all Australian workplaces. It has set out in its response to the Respect@Work Report, the Roadmap for Respect, a clear and comprehensive path forward to preventing and addressing sexual harassment and to support meaningful change in our workplaces.