The Australian Government has announced details regarding the project to consolidate Commonwealth anti‑discrimination laws into a single Act.  The Attorney-General, the Hon Nicola Roxon MP and the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Senator the Hon Penny Wong, have released exposure draft legislation for the Human Rights and Anti‑Discrimination Bill 2012.

The Bill consolidates the 5 existing Commonwealth anti-discrimination acts into a single comprehensive law. The Bill was drafted following these key principles:

  • Lift differing levels of protections to the highest current standard, to resolve gaps and inconsistencies without diminishing protections.
  • Clearer and more efficient laws provide greater flexibility in their operation, with no substantial change in practical outcome.
  • Enhance protections where the benefits outweigh any regulatory impact.
  • Voluntary measures that business can take to assist their understanding of obligations and reduce occurrences of discrimination.
  • A streamlined complaints process, to make it more efficient to resolve disputes that do arise.

Further information on the consolidation project and the public consultation process will be placed on the website at www.ag.gov.au/antidiscrimination as it becomes available. Attached is  the exposure draft Bill and explanatory material, as well as a short fact sheet and the Ministers’ media release.

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