PIAC drew on its casework experience representing people who have suffered discrimination to provide advice on the exposure draft Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 (Cth) to the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
In particular, PIAC drew on its experience running the Homeless Persons’ Legal Service to suggest changes in wording that would protect homeless people from being discriminated against.
PIAC chief executive, Edward Santow, explained to the Senate Committee how this form of discrimination can trap people who are homeless in a cycle of poverty, making it more difficult to obtain housing or a job.
In evidence, Mr Santow discussed how Australia’s federal anti-discrimination regime could be improved to make it easier for ordinary people to access justice in this area.
PIAC endorsed the Bill’s proposal to make discrimination a no-costs jurisdiction. This would help alleviate the problem that a number of PIAC clients have faced namely, that the risk of an adverse costs order discourages them from pursuing even a strong discrimination claim.
PIAC also explained how the Bill could reduce the burden on individuals, by allowing organisations to bring discrimination claims on behalf of people.
Read PIAC’s submission (pdf) on the Exposure Draft of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012.
Photo: PIAC‘s Edward Santow, right, outside Parliament House with Anna Brown from the Human Rights Law Centre (back row, left); Edwina MacDonald from Kingsford Legal Centre (back row, right); Jo Schulman from the Redfern Legal Centre (middle row, left); Michelle Cohen from PIAC (middle row, centre); Camilla Pandolfini from PIAC (middle row, right); Frieda Lee from NACLAC (front row, left) and Anna Cody from the Kingsford Legal Centre (front row, centre).