The Age, Australia
Federal discrimination laws pushed
November 20, 2012
Indigenous Affairs and Social Affairs Correspondent
DISCRIMINATION on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender
identity would be outlawed nationally under a proposed overhaul of
federal discrimination laws unveiled on Tuesday.
Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Finance Minister Penny Wong
released draft laws that would consolidate, harmonise and simplify the
five existing Commonwealth discrimination laws.
Under the draft laws, discrimination on the grounds of sexual
orientation and gender identity would be specifically banned for the
first time at the national level, delivering on a 2010 Labor election
commitment. While state laws contain protections against
discrimination on the basis of sexuality, no such protections exist
An exemption that currently allows faith-based aged-care providers to
discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity
would be removed, but other religious exemptions would continue.
The draft laws contain a single definition of discrimination as
''unfavourable treatment'' and a simple defence of ''justification'',
meaning that discrimination is lawful when it is done for a legitimate
aim and is proportionate to that aim.
Anyone discriminated against on two grounds simultaneously will need
only make one complaint.
Ms Roxon said there would be no reduction in existing protections.
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