We further note the observation of the Australian Human Right Commission in its

We further note the observation of the australian

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international law.” We further note the observation of the Australian Human Rights Commission, in its submission, that “In the Commission’s experience, legislative use of the terms direct and indirect discrimination, and separation of direct and indirect discrimination into different sections within the legislation, introduces unhelpful technicality and complexity and can be misleading.” The comparator test Submission by the Australian Bahá’í Community on the Consolidation of Commonwealth Anti-Discrimination Laws 2
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The Australian Bahá’í Community also supports the removal from any definition of discrimination of the comparator test, by which complainants have been required to prove that they experienced differential treatment by reference to a person in comparable circumstances without a protected attribute. This test has given rise to significant difficulties, as the discussion paper points out, due to the fact that in many cases no suitable comparator can be identified – particularly in cases of intersectional or compound discrimination, where the complainant possesses more than one protected attribute, and it is impossible to distinguish on which attribute the discrimination is based, and thus to construct an appropriate comparator. We recommend consideration of the test provided by section six of the Disability Discrimination Act which may provide a more reasonable and fair approach to the establishment of indirect discrimination. Special measures The Australian Bahá’í Community supports the inclusion of a single provision in the new law for special measures covering all protected attributes. The concept of special measures is recognised under international human rights conventions as a valid and effective means for promoting substantive equality. The Bahá’í Community supports, and strives to uphold in its own practices, the principle that if any discrimination is to be tolerated, it should be discrimination in favour of, not against, the disadvantaged. For example, in the process of electing members to our administrative institutions, tied votes are resolved in favour of a person who belongs to a minority. Without special measures, social change will be too slow and the privileges of the dominant majority will continue to eclipse the rights of those from minority or oppressed sectors of society. Such programs are temporary measures to balance the ills produced by contemporary society and a history of injustice. Reasonable adjustments and positive duties The significance of Australia’s anti-discrimination laws in achieving a greater level of equality in Australian society should not be underestimated. While the existing Acts play a useful role for the individual complainant, however, they are not without their limitations. With their focus on identified acts of discrimination within specified spheres of activity, they have tended to address discrimination as an isolated incident rather than as a systemic issue. Under the
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