No time for tinkering: PIAC calls for rewrite of NSW discrimination law as Law Reform Commission review announced

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) welcomes today’s announcement in Question Time that NSW Attorney-General Michael Daley has asked the NSW Law Reform Commission to review the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977.

‘The Anti-Discrimination Act is failing in its most basic duty – to adequately protect people against discrimination as they go about their daily lives,’ PIAC Director of Policy and Advocacy, Alastair Lawrie, said.

‘This legislation is so out-dated, ineffective and broken, that we need to start over and rewrite NSW anti-discrimination law with the modern protections our communities expect. We hope this NSW Law Reform Commission review is the beginning of that process.’

‘Anti-discrimination reform is an urgent priority for the many groups across NSW experiencing discrimination,’ Lawrie added.

‘We will be urging the NSW Government to respond promptly to the review’s recommendations and get on with the job of passing a new anti-discrimination law fit for the 21st century.’

Some of the major problems in the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act include*:

  • It does not protect people from discrimination on the basis of their religious belief,
  • LGBTQ students and teachers are not protected against discrimination by religious schools,
  • Businesses and employers do not have a positive obligation to provide reasonable adjustments for people with disability,
  • It does not protect bisexual people, non-binary people or intersex people from discrimination, and
  • Its sexual harassment provisions have not been updated since 1997 and are no longer fit-for-purpose.

‘The NSW Anti-Discrimination Act was ground-breaking in its early days but is now undeniably the worst law of its kind in Australia. We look forward to contributing to this review and ensuring NSW is once again a leader in protecting people from discrimination,’ Lawrie concluded.

For more information on the problems in the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, see PIAC’s 2021 Report ‘Leader to Laggard: The case for modernising the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act’ 

Media contact:
PIAC Media and Communications Manager, Danielle Buhagiar: 0478 739 280

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