Corporate Policies & Frameworks
The Australia Council Corporate Governance
The Australia Council for the Arts (‘Council’) is the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body. The Council is accountable to the Australian Parliament and to the Government through the Minister for the Arts.
Corporate governance is the process by which the Australia Council is directed and controlled. It encompasses authority, accountability, stewardship, leadership, direction and control.The Board and management of the Australia Council are responsible for ensuring they have appropriate systems and processes in place to direct and control Council. This includes the mechanisms by which they are held to account.
The Conflicts of Interest and Confidentiality Policy document can be accessed here.
Statement on Sexual Harassment Policies
The Australia Council for the Arts has zero tolerance for sexual harassment in the workplace and is committed to the prevention of any form of harassment or discrimination in any work-related context. The Australia Council is also committed to promoting safe and respectful working environments for everyone working in the arts sector.
The Australia Council requires that all individuals, groups and organisations in receipt of its funding work within Australian law. Sexual harassment is against the law under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and has broad coverage in employment, educational institutions and other areas of public activity, including the provision of goods and services. The Act covers situations where a person "causes, instructs, induces, aids or permits another person” to sexually harass or discriminate as being unlawful. In doing so it makes individuals who are aware or have permitted the behaviour to occur to be personally liable, and also business(es) to be vicariously liable. This means the Act would apply to the individual, or directors and senior managers, as if they had directly taken part in the sexual harassment. There is also State and Territory legislation which supports the prevention of sexual harassment.
The Australia Council requires that multi-year funded organisations adopt and implement the Australia Council’s ‘Essential governance practices for arts organisations’. This promotes best practice through principles and guidelines which assist boards in meeting their legal obligations. The section on acting responsibly and ethically includes, but goes well beyond, compliance with legal obligations.
The governance section which covers harassment has been updated to be more specific with regards to sexual harassment. The boards of multi-year funded organisations are required to ensure that “the organisation has a policy dealing with harassment of any kind, including sexual harassment and bullying, that is clearly communicated and provides guidelines for CEOs and staff around dealing with misconduct.”
This change gives heightened visibility to the responsibilities that already exist. The Australia Council will also undertake rolling reviews of governance requirements and will make further revisions in line with current issues and best practice as appropriate in the future.
The Australia Council will continue to promote best practice in the arts sector in relation to prevention of, and responses to, misconduct. This includes working with industry bodies to identify the resources needed to build sector capacity and advance the cultural change needed to respond to this serious issue.