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One bill to beatdiscrimination

The federal government is planning to consolidate its national anti-discrimination laws – getting specific about those who discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

A draft bill revealed this week by Attorney-General Nicola Roxon (pictured) and Senator Penny Wong aims to consolidate five separate statutes into one piece of legislation covering a range of possible discrimination about race, age, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity, among several others. Here’s the complete list:

The phrase ‘gender identity’ in the proposed law aims to include both transgender and intersex people:

The fresh laws aim to make it easier for people who have put up with “unfavorable treatment” in various situations to make a complaint, and shifts the burden of proof onto the respondent to justify their discriminatory actions.

Applied to various areas of life, the anti-discrimination law may govern issues in the workplace, education, access to public places, the division of goods and services, provision of accommodation, membership of clubs and more.

For just one example, aged care homes will now no longer be able to block people who are gay or transgender from their services.

Exemptions to the law by religious groups would still continue under the proposed changes, however.

Submissions by various Australian LGBT groups were received to inform the draft legislation, including the NSW Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby, Transgender Victoria, the National LGBTI Health Alliance, the Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby, and the Tasmanian Gay & Lesbian Rights Group.

The Australian Government’s draft Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 is available to view online here.

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