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[News] [Australia] Calls to change rights law bill

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  • Stephanie Stevens
    The Age, Australia Calls to change rights law bill January 1, 2013 Dan Harrison Health and Indigenous Affairs Correspondent UNIONS and human rights advocates
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2013
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      The Age, Australia


      Calls to change rights law bill

      January 1, 2013

      Dan Harrison
      Health and Indigenous Affairs Correspondent


      UNIONS and human rights advocates have urged the Gillard government to
      strengthen proposed discrimination laws to provide greater protection
      to carers.

      In November, Attorney-General Nicola Roxon released draft legislation
      to consolidate, harmonise and simplify the five existing federal
      discrimination laws.

      A Senate committee is examining the proposals.

      While the draft laws prohibit discrimination in employment on the
      basis of "family responsibilities'', the ACTU says it should be
      expanded to ban discrimination on grounds of "family and carers'
      responsibilities''.

      The ACTU submission said the draft bill's narrow definition excluded
      the network of relationships and care obligations of some groups, such
      as Aboriginal people.

      "Adding the term 'caring' to the phrase takes the emphasis off the
      family relationship between the two parties and focuses it on the
      level of obligation and the act of caring for someone, which more
      effectively reflects the needs of the carer and the intention of the
      bill,'' the submission said.

      It also says such protections should not be limited to employment but
      apply to all areas of public life, as do the protections for other
      attributes such as race and gender.

      The Shop Distributive & Allied Employees Association, the largest
      single trade union in the country, and the Australian Human Rights
      Commission also called for explicit protections for carers.

      In its submission the Organisation Intersex International Australia
      said stronger protections were needed for intersex people. The bill
      introduces the first federal protections against discrimination on the
      grounds of sexuality and gender identity. But the organisation said
      this was not sufficient protection.

      "Intersex people suffer stigmatisation and discrimination, and we need
      explicit protection,'' it said.


      Copyright © 2013 Fairfax Media

      http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/calls-to-change-rights-law-bill-20121231-2c2t1.html
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