Australian discrimination laws
Section 116 of the Australian Constitution provides that:
The Commonwealth of Australia shall not make any law establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.
The High Court of Australia defined religion in 1983 as "a complex of beliefs and practices which point to a set of values and an understanding of the meaning of existence".
The Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 legislates against discrimination in employment on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction, social origin, age, medical record, criminal record, marital status, impairment, disability, nationality, sexual preference, trade union activity within any Commonwealth body or agency.
The following laws operate at a federal level and the Australian Human Rights Commission has statutory responsibilities under them:
- Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986
- Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cth)
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992
- Racial Discrimination Act 1975
- Sex Discrimination Act 1984
The following State and Territory laws govern locally:
- Australian Capital Territory Discrimination Act 1991 (ACT)
- New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)
- Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Act 1996 (NT)
- Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (QLD)
- South Australia Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA)
- Tasmania Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (TAS)
- Victoria Equal Opportunity Act 1995 (VIC)
- Western Australia Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (WA)
A brief guide to these laws can be found at the Australian Human Rights Commissions website.
Australian law including the Australian Constitution can be researched at the Australasian Legal Information Institute website.