Anti-Discrimination Bill amendments welcomed
President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs has welcomed the announcement by the Attorney-General, The Hon Nicola Roxon MP, that one of the most controversial provisions of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 will be amended or removed.
“The removal of Section 19(2)(b), which includes the test of ‘offend or insult’, which has caused much heated debate, is an eminently sensible option,” Commission President Triggs said. “The ongoing focus on this provision only served to distract from what is otherwise very worthy legislation.”
Professor Triggs said the aim of the Bill was to consolidate the existing five anti-discrimination Acts into one and to achieve overall consistency in the way the various grounds for discrimination are handled.
“I believe the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 is a balanced package that achieves the objectives of delivering legislation which is more efficient, effective and easier to understand and comply with than the existing framework,” Professor Triggs said.
“I, and the Australian Human Rights Commission, was greatly concerned that the ongoing argument and focus on the ‘offend and insult’ provisions was in danger of derailing a very important legislative reform which deserves firm support, so I applaud the Attorney general for taking this step,” she said.
President Triggs said, like the Attorney-General, she did not expect this revision to quiet every criticism of the Bill, but was pleased that it would allow the debate to move forward into more constructive territory.