The Australian Human Rights Commission Act defines human rights as including

The australian human rights commission act defines

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The Australian Human Rights Commission Act defines “human rights” as including the rights and freedoms recognised in the Declaration on the elimination of all forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief, even though there is no Commonwealth law protecting these rights and freedoms. Further, the Act gives the Commission the function of seeking to conciliate complaints of discrimination in employment on the basis of religion, in order to meet Australia’s obligations under International Labour Organization Convention No. 111 – but not in other areas of public life. 2 Nor does the Act enable Court ordered remedies to address and act as a deterrent to unlawful discrimination. The explicit inclusion of religion or belief as a protected attribute under the new law would address these inconsistencies and afford all Australians the protection to which they are entitled under international law. We note that this recommendation is consistent with the Australian Human Rights Commission’s recommendation, in its submission, that “the Government give favourable consideration to inclusion within a consolidated Commonwealth equality law of attributes covered by the Commission’s existing ILO jurisdiction under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act and by the Fair Work Act.” Other protected attributes The Australian Bahá’í Community supports the recommendation of the Equality Rights Alliance, in its submission, that “survivor of domestic and family violence” also be included in the list of attributes upon which it is unlawful to discriminate. We recognise that a relentless epidemic of violence against women and girls exists in every corner of the world, including in Australia, where it is estimated that one in three women will experience physical violence in their lifetimes, and a significant proportion of this violence occurs at home. Those who are survivors of such violence should be protected from unlawful discrimination and adverse treatment. We note that a similar recommendation has been put forward by the Australian Human Rights Commission in its submission. Discrimination based on more than one attribute The issue of discrimination based on more than one attribute requires particular attention under the new law. It is well established that individuals who possess more than one of the protected attributes, such as Indigenous or disabled women, frequently suffer from a compounded form of discrimination. The submission from the Equality Rights Alliance sets out this issue in some detail, observing that: 1 Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Article 18: Freedom of Religion and Belief , 1998, available on-line at 2 As the discussion paper notes, 16.8 % of the ILO complaints received by the Commission in 2009-2010 related to discrimination on the basis of religion, demonstrating that this is a significant issue.
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