Appendix 4

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Complaints process prior to 1995

Between 1992 and 1995, the Commission, then known as the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC), had statutory functions under the RDA, Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (SDA) and Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) with the following general functions:

Process found unconstitutional - Brandy v HREOC

In Brandy v Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, the High Court held that the provision for registration of the HREOC's decisions was unconstitutional as its effect was to vest judicial power in HREOC contrary to Chapter III of the Constitution.[2]

In response to the decision in Brandy, the parliament enacted the Human Rights Legislation Amendment Act 1995. This Act repealed the registration and enforcement provisions of the RDA, SDA and DDA. Complaints that were lodged under the new regime introduced by the Act were still the subject of hearings before HREOC. Where a complaint was successful, HREOC would make an (unenforceable) determination.[3]

Amendments to establish the current process

The Human Rights Legislation Amendment Act (No. 1) 1999 amended the complaints process further:

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