Obligations and Rights Under Australian Anti-Discrimination Law

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Obligations and Rights Under Australian Anti-Discrimination Law
18 Oct

Obligations and Rights Under Australian Anti-Discrimination Law

It is unlawful to discriminate against another person who possesses certain attributes in Australia. The federal legislative instruments which govern this area of law include:-

  1. Racial Discrimination Act 1975
  2. Sex Discrimination Act 1984
  3. Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986
    4. Disability Discrimination Act 1992
    5.Age Discrimination Act 2004

Collectively, this legislation aims to protect persons within minority groups and promote equality of all persons in society. In addition to federal law, Queensland has also enacted the Anti-Discrimination Act (Qld) 1991 which prohibits discriminatory behaviour including:-

  1. Relationships
  2. Age
  3. Gender
  4. Disability
  5. Race
  6. Sexual Orientation and Activity
  7. Religious and Political Beliefs

Under the Queensland State legislation, both direct and indirect discrimination of the above-mentioned areas is unlawful. Direct discrimination is quite straightforward, where an employer may advertise an available position to only those persons who are a certain age, gender or race. On the other hand, indirect discrimination is not always apparent to the general perspective. For example, if the only way into a company building is by stairs, this may indirectly be discriminatory to those persons who are disabled.

In addition to prohibiting discrimination against the groups of people mentioned above, Queensland law also outlines a complaint framework individuals or groups may use to bring certain discriminatory actions into view. Alleged discriminatory actions are referred to the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland (ADCQ). Upon receipt of a complaint, a conference will be held with the view to settle the disagreement between the parties. If the problem is not resolved during this stage, the ADCQ has the power to refer the matter to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

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