26 September 2023

New laws to tough up on discrimination

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The Queensland Human Rights Commission (QHRC) has recommended new anti-discrimination legislation aimed at preventing sex discrimination and sexual harassment, with a particular emphasis on the workplace.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Shannon Fentiman said the QHRC had made 122 recommendations to strengthen and enhance the Anti-Discrimination Act.

“It has been over 30 years since the Goss Government introduced Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Act.” Ms Fentiman said

“At the time, the legislation was ground-breaking, but three decades on our society is a different place with different values.”

“The QHRC’s Building Belonging report clearly shows it is essential our laws are protecting and promoting equality to the greatest extent possible.”

She said the report recommended reforms in a range of key areas, including a greater focus on the proactive prevention of discrimination and sexual harassment.

“Current anti-discrimination legislation is generally concerned with resolving complaints about discrimination that has already occurred, rather than preventing it from happening in the first place,” Ms Fentiman said.

“The QHRC reforms would create legal obligations on individuals and organisations to actively take reasonable and proportionate steps to eliminate sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and other discriminatory conduct as far as possible.”

She said introducing a ‘positive duty’ upon employers to take reasonable measures to eliminate sexual harassment and discrimination was also a recommendation of the Respect@Work report.

“The QHRC report further recommends that victims of domestic and family violence are better protected from discrimination, such as when applying for a rental property or in workplace,” the Attorney-General said.

“Importantly, the QHRC recommended strengthening protections for the LGBTIQ community.

She said the Government would now “carefully consider” the report and its recommendations.

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