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Review into sexual harm and harassment in the Australian music industry launched

By | Published on Thursday 9 December 2021

Sydney Harbour

A sector wide review of sexual harm, sexual harassment and systematic discrimination within the Australian music industry has been announced. The review has been commissioned by a special working group that convened earlier this year.

That group came together amid mounting allegations of bad working practices and misconduct within the music business. The working practices of the Australian music industry at large – and certain music companies in particular – have become an even bigger talking point since then, following the high profile axing of long-time Sony Music Australia boss Denis Handlin in June, who was accused of overseeing a toxic corporate culture at the major’s division in the country.

The Music Industry Review is being supported by Australian collecting societies APRA AMCOS and PPCA, record industry trade group ARIA, and music industry charity Support Act.

It will be led by consultants Alexandra Shehadie and Sam Turner who, organisers say, “bring extensive collective experience and leadership to this review, specifically in relation to safe, inclusive and respectful workplace culture, diversity and inclusion, gender equality, and the prevention of and effective responses to sexual violence, including sexual harassment”.

The review will be conducted in the first half of 2022, with a series of focus groups, one-on-one interviews, an online survey, and a confidential online written submission process beginning in February. Based on all that work a report will then be published identifying key issues and themes, and making recommendations for how the industry can improve.

Commenting on the review and the appointment of Shehadie and Turner to lead on it, the aforementioned working group said in a statement that it was important to hear from the “most vulnerable members” of the Australian music community.

“Only through this survivor-centric approach can we understand the problems that allow for systemic abuse and sexual harassment to occur in our industry”, they added

“The journey to appoint independent consultants Alex and Sam has been immense, and is a big step in pushing for real change”, they said, adding that the initiative now “requires an industry-wide commitment – financially and emotionally”. The process is “not about blame” they went on, but about coming together to build the kind of “safe industry we all deserve to work in”.

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