On 21 November 2012 the Senate referred the Exposure Draft of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 for inquiry and report.
The Bill seeks to consolidate the existing Commonwealth anti-discrimination legislation - the Age Discrimination Act 2004, the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 - into a single Act.
The Bill does not propose significant changes to existing laws or protections but is intended to simplify and clarify the existing anti-discrimination legislative framework. The major reforms proposed in the Bill include:
- a single, simplified test for discrimination;
- introduction of additional protected attributes, including protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination and extension of protections against relationship discrimination to same-sex couples in any area of public life; and recognition of discrimination on the basis of a combination of attributes;
- coverage of discrimination and sexual harassment in any area of public life;
- a streamlined approach to exceptions;
- additional measures to assist and promote voluntary compliance with the Bill;
- improvements to the complaints process; and
- rationalisation of some functions of the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Submissions to the inquiry closed on 21 December 2012 and the committee is no longer receiving submissions.
The committee tabled its report for the inquiry on 21 February 2013. The report is available at the following link http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Legal_and_Constitutional_Affairs/Completed%20inquiries/2010-13/antidiscrimination2012/report/index
Please note that printed copies of the report will not be available for distribution.
Further information about the exposure draft and the government's consultation process, which informed the development of the draft legislation, is available on the Attorney-General's Department's website at the following link: www.ag.gov.au/antidiscrimination
The Committee is seeking written submissions from interested individuals and organisations preferably in electronic form submitted online
or sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
as an attached Adobe PDF or MS Word format document. The email must include full postal address and contact details.
Alternatively, written submissions may be sent to:
Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee
PO Box 6100
Canberra ACT 2600
Notes to help you prepare your submission are available from the website at http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/wit_sub/index.htm
. Alternatively, the Committee Secretariat will be able to help you with your inquiries and can be contacted on telephone +61 2 6277 3560 or facsimile +61 2 6277 5794 or by email to email@example.com.
Inquiries from hearing and speech impaired people should be directed to Parliament House TTY number 02 6277 7799. Adobe also provides tools at http://access.adobe.com/
for the blind and visually impaired to access PDF documents. If you require any special arrangements to enable you to participate in the Committee's inquiry, please contact the Committee Secretariat.
Once the Committee accepts your submission, it becomes a confidential Committee document and is protected by Parliamentary Privilege. You must not
release your submission without the Committee's permission. If you do, it will not be protected by Parliamentary Privilege. At some stage during the inquiry, the Committee normally makes submissions public and places them on its website. Please indicate if you want your submission to be kept confidential.