A government official’s display of pop culture, comics and anime figurines in their office has been declared a ‘psychological hazard’, according to a statement from the Comcare government agency.
The bizarre intersection of public servant and waifu figurines entered the national consciousness last year. Around 20 figurines were reportedly displayed in the office of Gerard Boyce, who remains the deputy president of the Fair Work Commission, and the figures had become the subject of debate at a Senate Estimates hearing.
Some members of the Fair Work Commission questioned whether the figurines would “undermine trust in the professionalism” of the Commission at the time, and the deputy president was forced to remove at least one of the figurines. It’s not clear exactly what was removed, but the Sydney Morning Herald reported that some of the figures included Scarlett Johansson’s representation of the Major Ghost in the Shell, a figurine of Jared Leto’s Joker, along with Harley Quinn in fishnets, and Captain America. There’s also this photo in a new story this week, featuring two characters including a Vampirella Premium Format figure from Sideshow Collectibles.
A year after that furore, Comcare — a government body which oversees work, health and safety for the Commonwealth — found that the figurines “did not” violate Australia’s work health and safety laws, but they “considered the display of the figurines to be a psychological hazard”.
It’s not outlined how exactly that was the case, or what figurines were specifically flagged, although the SMH has a great quote from last year from a defender of the deputy Fair Work Commission president:
“[When have] figurines sold to kids and adults at EB Games been deemed inappropriate for display? Particularly as these were displayed on a shelf in private chambers not accessible to others without the deputy president’s [Mr Boyce’s] permission,” Steve Knott, president of the Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) industry body, told the SMH.
For its part, Comcare has recommended Fair Work Commission staff review “unacceptable conduct and sexual harassment policies” in Australia. I hear the Fair Work Ombudsman has a lot of good resources for that thing. Suggestions on what to do about anime and waifu figures in the office, however, was not listed on the Ombusdman’s website at the time of writing.