The findings come just weeks after the SSO made a triumphant return to the refurbished and acoustically enhanced Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, with its new chief conductor Simone Young at the helm.
MEAA’s chief executive Erin Madeley said the union had been encouraged by the quick response of SSO management and the board in accepting all recommendations of the Broderick investigation.
“It is entirely unacceptable for any worker to be unsafe at work or to be fearful about speaking up about bad behaviour, which is why we welcome the initiative taken by SSO to investigate and report,” she said. “Our members are encouraged by the remedial and steps being taken by SSO management which have been and must continue to be inclusive and in cooperation with our members.”
Former CEO Emma Dunch cited the Broderick review in an unfair dismissal claim she has filed against the SSO and its chair.
She claims to have been terminated in December after she had acted against a musician last year accused of sexual assault, a case now before the courts, and hired Broderick to review the SSO’s culture.
Her unfair dismissal case is up for mediation on August 22. At the time of her sacking, she claimed she had been the victim of a political “hit job”.
It was this parting allegation, rather than the dismissal itself, that the SSO contends damaged Dunch’s own professional reputation and career prospects, according to court documents.
In the Broderick report, Wilson and Whitehead noted there was great pride in the role its people played in contributing to the SSO, combined with a great passion for the institution and a desire to be part of its future.
They also acknowledged a strong appetite for cultural change, recognising that the SSO needs to evolve and modernise its culture. “Our people believe now is an opportune time for us to review and refocus.”
“For many, the hierarchical nature of our Orchestra, the long average tenure of musicians and the overriding view that the orchestra is more like a family than a workplace, creates an environment that while strong, many don’t see as being bound by workplace policies and legislation, and may not support psychological safety for all,” they said.
“Others perceive a skills gap in leading and managing people in both the administration and the Orchestra. There are skills that can be learned.
“There was evidence of cultural division within the organization between musicians and administrators that created a sense of isolation and a lack of belonging and inclusion. We acknowledge that the survey found unacceptable rates of harmful behavior across the company, not just within any specific cohort.”
The Herald understands that none of the harassment allegations cited in the report have been referred to the police for investigation. The review identified issues, not individuals, and there had been no personnel changes. The review’s findings and recommendations had been communicated with all staff, and workshops and training programs have begun.
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