individualised reactive complaints based model discrimination will only be

Individualised reactive complaints based model

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individualised, reactive, complaints-based model, discrimination will only be remedied in specific cases if the victim takes action. This concern was raised by a number of submissions to the Inquiry into the Effectiveness of the Sex Discrimination Act, including that of the Australian Bahá’í Community. The challenge of creating a society in which all members of the community can develop to their full potential cannot be met by legal measures outlawing discrimination alone. It requires changes to legal, political and economic structures, as well as the transformation of individuals whose morals or values consciously or inadvertently sustain exploitative behaviour. We all share responsibility for supporting and implementing the changes required. Based on these considerations, we support the inclusion in the new law of an explicit duty on the part of duty holders to make reasonable adjustments to address disadvantage faced by those possessing protected attributes, thus extending the duty that is currently contained in the Disability Discrimination Act to other protected attributes. We believe that such a measure would encourage the addressing of discriminatory policies and practices in a proactive way, rather than relying on someone to experience discrimination and make a complaint. We further Submission by the Australian Bahá’í Community on the Consolidation of Commonwealth Anti-Discrimination Laws 3
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support the introduction of a positive duty for public sector organisations to eliminate discrimination and harassment, and promote equality. The Government’s commitment to make human rights education the centrepiece of Australia’s Human Rights Framework, including its education and training program to foster human rights awareness in the Commonwealth public sector, is an important step in this direction. In this regard, we note that if the Australian Human Rights Commission is given the responsibility to provide education and guidance to organisations about complying with such a positive duty, commensurate resources will need to be allocated to the Commission to enable it to fulfil this responsibility adequately. We acknowledge and pay tribute to the important role that the Commission and its individual commissioners have played, over many years, in promoting a more equal society for all Australians, and we support its recommendation that “the Attorney-General’s Department commence discussions on transitional requirements for resourcing for information, education and compliance promotion activities related to introduction of a consolidated Commonwealth equality law.” Harassment The Australian Bahá’í Community supports the inclusion in the new law of a prohibition on harassment, based on any protected attribute, in all areas where unlawful discrimination is prohibited. This prohibition could be implemented either through a standalone prohibition, or by clearly including such harassment within the meaning of discrimination. Such prohibition
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