The Anti-Discrimination Act (the Act) commenced on 1 August 1993. Discrimination law is an evolving area of practice and needs to keep pace with contemporary standards and expectations. The Department of the Attorney‑General and Justice has commenced a review of the Act to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the community.
A discussion paper outlining proposed reforms to the Act has been released by the Department of the Attorney‑General and Justice. These proposed reforms include:
modernising gender and sexuality protections and language in line with the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth);
changes to the law to support an end to discrimination against people of diverse sexualities accessing artificial fertilisation procedures;
introducing new protections under the Act such as domestic violence, homelessness, lawful sexual activity and socioeconomic status;
introducing specific anti-vilification laws prohibiting offensive conduct on the basis of race, religious belief, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status;
extending coverage of the sexual harassment provisions to include all areas of public life;
introducing a representative complaints model that enables organisations to bring complaints about acts of systemic discrimination on behalf of groups who may be limited in their ability to bring an individual complaint;
removing some of the exemptions for religious and cultural organisations; and
broadening the scope of clubs by removal of the requirement for clubs to sell or supply liquor for consumption on its premises.
The Department of the Attorney-General and Justice is seeking your comments on potential future amendments to the Anti-Discrimination Act. Submissions or comments can be as short or informal as an email or letter, or can be a more substantial document. They do not have to address all aspects of the discussion paper nor must they be confined to any of the proposed options discussed in the paper.
Closing date for comments on this discussion paper is 3 December 2017.