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Lies and blatant misrepresentation really get up our nose! Like the ATO!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Perhaps only hermits may not have noticed the explosive allegations of sexual assault by dozens of women in Hollywood against the film mogul Harvey Weinstein.

The allegations are about a sexual creep making full use of the ‘casting couch’ along with fearful women being silenced by the Hollywood system.

But hang on. This seediness of Hollywood is being used to assert that, because actors are (mostly) independent contractors, they don’t have legal protection under anti-discrimination and sexual harassment laws. This commentary on US Federal laws is highly misleading we suggest.

We don’t claim to know the intimate details of US law. But in general—and certainly under the principles of the International Labour Organisation Conventions (to which the US is a signatory)—discrimination and harassment law afford protections regardless of work status. This is the case in Australia. A person who discriminates or harasses is liable for their actions. A victim has redress against the perpetrator!

What is perverse, however, about employment is that it facilitates the transfer of liability of a ‘creep employee’ to the employer under ‘vicarious liability’. If everyone were an independent contractor, sexual creeps would be more exposed—as they should be!

But such misrepresentations are used to justify institutional attacks against self-employed people. Such misrepresentations underpin the Australian Taxation Office’s aggressive denial of Australian Business Numbers to genuinely self-employed people. Not only does the ATO assert that it acts to protect tax revenue, but it would be easy to view it as having a broader social agenda: to close down self-employment.

What the ATO is doing, however, is enforcing the perversions of ‘employment’ and making for an uglier society.

Are we at Self-Employed Australia over-reacting? Just wait. We’re building a significant dossier on the ATO’s behaviour. When we detail our counter-allegations against the ATO, those allegations will be backed by significant case study facts. That’s what we’ve always done in our advocacy campaigns.
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