Possible changes to definition of discrimination under exposure draft Bill

31 January 2013

Commonwealth Attorney-General Nicola Roxon announced today that her department is currently considering possible alternative definitions of discrimination under the draft Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 after receiving extensive feedback on the definition of discrimination, particularly clause 19(2)(b), through the media and Senate Inquiry process.

The Attorney-General indicated in an interview today with ABC Radio AM’s Sabra Lane that her department will be presenting alternative options for the definition of discrimination to the Senate committee next week because it was never the Government’s intention to restrict free speech. 

Ms Roxon emphasized in her radio interview and media release that while her department was considering alternative definitions in light of the debate, including the removal of clause 19(2)(b), the Government did not intend to roll back any important protections that Australians have fought to include in existing anti-discrimination legislation.

 ‘There are many rights that are important in our society – including freedom of speech and the freedom from discrimination. The consolidation of these laws will not alter the delicate balance of these rights’, Ms Roxon said in her media release today.

 ‘I know that this will not convince every commentator – as sadly, there are still some in or society who believe our laws should allow sexism, racism, and discrimination, on the basis of disability, age or sexuality,’ she said.

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