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Second Reading Speeches

Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill 2017

Originating house
Parliament no

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Amends the:

Racial Discrimination Act 1975
to: amend section 18C, which prohibits offensive behaviour based on racial hatred, to replace the words ‘offend’, ‘insult’ and ‘humiliate’ with ‘harass’ (resulting in the formulation ‘harass or intimidate’); and provide that an assessment of whether an act is reasonably likely to harass or intimidate a person or group of persons is made against the standard of a reasonable member of the Australian community;
Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986
to: replace the defined term of ‘alleged unlawful discrimination’ with ‘alleged acts, omissions or practices’; repeal the requirement for the President and commissioners to act in a way that promotes the collegiate nature of the Australian Human Rights Commission; provide that certain powers to report to the minister must be exercised by the President; expressly provide that the President is responsible for managing the administrative affairs, and is the accountable authority, of the commission; remove mandatory requirements to report to the minister on certain matters and replace them with discretionary reporting powers; provide that the President cannot delegate certain powers; introduce new grounds on which the commission or the President may or must close inquiries or terminate complaints; require the commission to act fairly in the performance of its inquiry functions; increase the threshold for lodging complaints; require the President to consider whether a complaint should be terminated on certain grounds before starting to inquire into the complaint; require the President to act fairly in his or her handling of complaints; allow the President to terminate complaints lodged more than six months after the alleged unlawful discrimination; require the inclusion of a note about the costs jurisdiction of the Federal Court (FC) and the Federal Circuit Court (FCC) in a notice of termination; prescribe procedures for voluntary conciliation conferences; and provide that applications may be made to the FC or FCC in relation to complaints terminated on certain grounds; and
Native Title Act 1993
to replace the mandatory requirement for the Social Justice Commissioner to provide an annual report to the minister with a discretion to report when he or she sees fit.

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