Review on sexual harassment and systemic discrimination in Australian music industry announced

Consultants Alex Shehadie and Sam Turner will lead the six-month “broad cultural review” under the auspices of Support Act

A “broad cultural review” of the Australian music industry on the issues of sexual harassment and systemic discrimination has been announced today (December 9).

Officially named the Music Industry Review, it will follow a six-month timeline and be led by two consultants, Alex Shehadie and Sam Turner. Both were selected after a tender process by a temporary working group formed after a meeting in May 2021 about sexual assault in the country’s music industry.

The review will entail focus groups, one-on-one interviews, an online survey and a “confidential online written submission process” that begins in February. It hopes to include a wide range of people, workers and bodies across the music industry, including venues, labels, promoters, studios and more.

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The Music Industry Review will culminate in a final report, currently slated for publication in June 2022, that identifies key issues and makes “sustainable recommendations with impact”. A First Nations facilitator will be engaged for the review, and a First Nations advisor to review the overall report with the intent of elevating Black voices.

The Music Industry Review “will not investigate any individual incident but will be a broad cultural review”, it notes on its website. Though “reporting mechanisms will be considered as part of the review”, its final report will not name people nor alleged perpetrators, it notes on its FAQ page.

Those who report personal incidents to the Music Industry Review’s consultants and facilitators should not expect them to be “investigated and actioned”, the review’s FAQ page says. “The consultants will develop an industry-appropriate process for escalations and referrals, which will be shared early next year.”

The Music Industry Review is going ahead under the auspices of Support Act, the Australian charity that provides crisis relief and mental health support to workers in the music industry. Among other duties, Support Act will help fund the review and assist in managing its finances. Other current funders of the review, which aims to raise a budget of AUD $400,000, include APRA AMCOS, ARIA PPCA and Australia Council.

The Music Industry Review is asking industry businesses, organisations and individuals to make financial contributions. Per the FAQ page, those who contribute funds will not receive oversight nor involvement in the review process, more time with consultants, nor any foresight or approval rights on the report before it is published.

Of the seven-member temporary working group who selected Shehadie and Turner as consultants, three will remain involved “to support continuity and ensure the review keeps on track”. They are MusicNSW managing director Emily Collins, Australian Festival Association general manager Julia Robinson and musician Deena Lynch, aka Jaguar Jonze.

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Lynch has been a leader in the current movement against sexual harassment and rape culture in Australian music since July 2020, when she amplified anonymised allegations of sexual abuse and assault on her Instagram account. In a post on Instagram yesterday, Lynch encouraged music industry professionals to attend a meeting at 1pm AEDT on Monday (December 13) about the Music Industry Review.

“I know that things have been quiet on the public front but so much hard volunteer work from the Temporary Working Group has gone into this over the last six months to ensure that the momentum turns into real change,” she wrote in a note. “This briefing is not just for the leaders, it is for ALL members of the contemporary Australian music industry.”

Those who wish to attend the meeting on Monday can register their interest here. The meeting will operate under strict Chatham House Rules, where information aired in the meeting may be freely used and reported, but without identifying speakers or any other participants.

Warner Music Australia has voiced its support of the Music Industry Review. “There has never been a more important time to recognise that the responsibility falls on each of us to evolve and be positive participants in the change that our industry needs,” said Dan Rosen, President of Warner Music Australasia, in a press statement disseminated after the review’s announcement.

“Warner Music welcomes this opportunity to engage with the wider industry to share what we’ve been doing, to learn from others, and to continue to grow to create an environment where we all feel safe, heard and respected.”

Find out more about the Music Industry Review here.

If you or someone you know is in need of support and assistance, contact Support Act’s wellbeing helpline at 1800 959 500 or 1800RESPECT at 1800 737 732.

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