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Photo: Sam Mooy via Getty Images

Politicians and judges in Australia will no longer be exempt from rules barring workplace sexual harassment, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Thursday.

Why it matters: Morrison has faced backlash for his government's management of sexual abuse scandals.

The state of play: Currently, lawmakers, judges and public servants are exempt from complaints about gender discrimination at work due to a legal loophole, though they can still be prosecuted for sexual assault.

  • Employers will now be lawfully required to take a proactive approach in stopping gender discrimination.
  • Complainants will also be able to submit their complaint within a longer time window.

What he's saying: The changes proposed Thursday are "about getting everyone on as much of a playing field as possible," Morrison told reporters.

  • "Sexual harassment is unacceptable," Morrison added.
  • "It’s not only immoral and despicable and even criminal, but … it denies Australians, especially women, not just their personal security but their economic security by not being safe at work."

The big picture: Australia has seen nationwide protests in recent months following rape allegations against public officials.

  • "Critics said the cases, and the government’s apparent initial reluctance to act, have highlighted a 'toxic' and sexist culture in Australia’s Parliament," Reuters writes.

Go deeper

Apr 7, 2021 - Sports

Nike suspends Deshaun Watson endorsement deal amid allegations, lawsuits

Texans QB Deshaun Watson during a game against the Indianapolis Colts, December 2020. Photo: Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Nike on Wednesday suspended its endorsement deal with Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who faces multiple lawsuits and criminal complaints alleging sexual assault and harassment.

Why it matters: 22 women have filed civil lawsuits against Watson, accusing the athlete of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions. Two of the women went public on Tuesday for the first time detailing their allegations.

Super typhoon Surigae explodes to Cat. 5 intensity

Super Typhoon Surigae seen on satellite imagery Saturday morning east of the Philippines. (CIRA/RAMMB)

Super Typhoon Surigae surged in intensity from a Category 1 storm on Friday to a beastly Category 5 monster on Saturday, with maximum sustained winds estimated at 190 mph with higher gusts.

Why it matters: This storm — known as Typhoon Bising in the Philippines — is just the latest of many tropical cyclones to undergo a process known as rapid intensification, a feat that studies show is becoming more common due to climate change. It weakened slightly, to the equivalent of a strong Category 4 storm, on Sunday.

4 hours ago - World

Biden adviser warns "there will be consequences" for Russia if Navalny dies

The Biden administration warned the Russian government "that there will be consequences" if jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday.

The big picture: Sullivan also defended President Biden for not mentioning Navalny in a Thursday speech about Russia or in a Tuesday call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying the White House aims to deal with the issue "privately and through diplomatic channels."