ACT Government Discrimination Law Reform

The ACT Government has engaged former Attorney-General, Gordon Ramsay, to undertake the preliminary work on a review of the Territory’s Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.

Despite being amended 65 times since commencement, and 28 times since the passage of the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT) the Government is claiming it is out of date and may not be compliant with the Human Rights Act.

A particular area of concern identified in the preliminary information about the Review is –

“… is the exceptions regime which can have a discriminatory effect on certain individuals (e.g. LGBTIQ people). Exceptions excuse discriminatory conduct, where it is reasonable in all of the circumstances. However, society’s views about what is reasonable change over time. Some of the ACT’s exceptions are very broad, which can undermine protections against discrimination. It’s time to reconsider whether the limits of our discrimination law are appropriate.”

This characterisation of exceptions as merely an excuse for discriminatory conduct completely misrepresents their nature as essential balancing provisions with a clear basis in international law.

We have already been in contact with other groups and will be actively engaging in the review process.