Department of Justice
The Government is seeking your feedback on the Anti-Discrimination Amendment Bill 2016 (the Bill).
The Government is proposing amendments to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (the Act) to ensure that there is an appropriate balance between providing protection from discrimination and unlawful conduct whilst allowing for genuine public debate and discussion on important issues.
Section 17(1) of the Act prohibits conduct which offends, humiliates, intimidates, insults or ridicules another person on the basis of specified protected attributes. These protected attributes are gender, race, age, sexual orientation, lawful sexual activity, gender identity, intersex, marital status, relationship status, pregnancy, breastfeeding, parental status, family responsibilities and disability.
Section 19 of the Act prohibits the incitement of hatred, serious contempt for or severe ridicule of a person or group of persons on the basis of race, disability, sexual orientation or lawful sexual activity or religious belief, affiliation or activity.
Section 55 of the Act provides an exception to sections 17(1) and 19 for certain conduct, including a public act done in good faith for academic, artistic, scientific or research purposes or for any purpose in the public interest.
The Bill proposes changes to the exception in section 55 of the Act to introduce a reasonableness test so that the exception will only apply if the public act was done reasonably and in good faith, and to make it clear that the exception applies to public acts done for religious purposes.
The Bill also seeks to address concerns that the current threshold for acceptance of a complaint under the Act is too low. The Bill proposes changes to various provisions in the Act to require the rejection or dismissal of a complaint made under sections 17(1) or 19 in certain, specified circumstances.
The Bill does not make repeal or make any changes to sections 17(1) or 19 of the Act.
Please send your comments in writing to the Department of Justice.
Department of Justice
Office of Strategic Legislation and Policy
GPO Box 825
Hobart TAS 7001