A good Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill could be great with a few with amendments

Despite needing some amendments, the Federal Government’s draft Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 has the potential to strengthen protections against unfair treatment and make anti-discrimination laws more effective, accessible and cost-efficient. This is the message the Human Rights Law Centre will deliver when it gives evidence today before the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee. The Government’s draft Bill consolidates existing Commonwealth laws covering discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability and age and adds new protections from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The HRLC’s Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Rachel Ball, said the Bill addresses many of the shortcomings of existing Acts – shortcomings that have been highlighted in successive reviews and throughout extensive Government consultation.

“It has long been recognised that some of the unnecessarily technical aspects of proving discrimination pose significant, and often insurmountable, obstacles for victims of unfair discrimination. The Bill recognises and addresses many of these issues.

“Australia’s laws should be able to effectively address and eliminate unfair discrimination. It would be a great shame if a long string of inquiries, years of consultation and significant Government and community sector resources went to waste because of concerns about freedom of expression that could easily be addressed through amendments to the Bill,” Ms Ball said.

For further information or comments, contact Rachel Ball on 0434 045 919

Click here for a copy of the HRLC's submission on the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012.