Fair Work Commission deputy president Gerard Boyce has been forced to remove ‘‘scantily-clad’’ and “erotic” figurines from his office and later installed a surveillance camera and a life-sized cutout of Donald Trump after the complaints.
In startling evidence to Senate estimates, Fair Work general manager Bernadette O’Neill revealed that Mr Boyce’s decision to decorate his office with artworks was “inappropriate” but she could not recall if the figure’s breasts were exposed.
“My recollection is one was a female figure and the other I am not sure was even human,” Ms O’Neill said.
“Scantily clad is probably the way I think of it.”
The busty figurines were handcrafted by Mr Boyce and described as an artistic “hobby” of the former barrister.
The FWC has agreed to provide to Senate estimates photographic evidence of the erotic artworks.
It is believed he had more than 10 and possibly 20 half-clothed female figurines.
The New Daily has obtained an image of the Donald Trump cutout in his office, photographed by a FWC whistleblower.
Another shonky Morrison Govt appointment – FWC Dep Commissioner Gerard Boyce was forced to remove "a large number" of “erotic” & "scantily clad" female figurines from his office. Lib Senator McGrath didn’t like it when I asked about it in #Estimates earlier today… #auspol pic.twitter.com/Vx4vEwsfh7
— Deborah O'Neill (@Deborah_ONeill) March 4, 2020
Senate estimates was told that Mr Boyce was ordered to remove the original items from his chambers after complaints from staff.
“The upshot is that he removed all of them,” Ms O’Neill said.
The revelations prompted heated debate at Senate estimates, with Labor Senator Deborah O’Neill clashing with Liberal Senator James McGrath.
“I am here to stand up for women in the workplace who should not be exposed to this kind of gross intimidation,” Senator O’Neill said.
Senator McGrath, whose parliamentary office includes a large and controversial display of mounted dead animals, said we shouldn’t judge those on how they decorate their offices.
— Senator James McGrath (@SenatorMcGrath) February 11, 2018
“I don’t think we can draw from someone’s preferences for different types of artwork as to their professionalism,” Senator McGrath said.
On the questions of the surveillance camera, the FWC said Mr Boyce had “advised that it was fake or certainly not working and would remove it”.
“This is a horrendous breach of workplace standards at any workplace,” Labor Senator Tony Sheldon said.
“The commissioners are responsible and liable for providing a safe workplace. To find a commissioner at Fair Work putting his own staff under surveillance is an appalling abuse of their responsibilities.”
Displays of inappropriate statues at work.
Installation of surveilllance cameras in retaliation for justified complaints about this conduct.
— Senator Tony Sheldon (@senator_sheldon) March 4, 2020
Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne, representing the government, said “any conduct in the workplace which demeans or disrespects women is completely unacceptable”.
The New Daily has sought comment from Mr Boyce through the Fair Work Commission.
Labor’s industrial relations spokesman Tony Burke said Mr Boyce’s conduct would “undermine trust in the professionalism of the commission” and as a result he was the “last person who should be an umpire over what’s fair in the workplace”.