DCA member consultation: Inquiry into the Racial Discrimination Act

News articles

DCA is currently preparing a submission in response to the inquiry into the Racial Discrimination Act and we would like this to be informed by the views of as many of our members as possible.

Please help us by sharing your views and answering the questions we have prepared by 5pm AEDT Friday 2 December 2016.  This should only take 10 mins to complete. Only DCA members' responses will be used in the formulation of this submission. 

Background

All employers have a responsibility to make sure that their employees, and people who apply for a job with them, are treated fairly. This includes a requirement to prevent bullying, intimidation, victimisation, harassment and discrimination.

These obligations are set out in a number of instruments including the Racial Discrimination Act (the RDA).

This inquiry is looking at making changes to Part IIA of the RDA which relates to the Prohibition of offensive behaviour based on racial hatred.

Currently, the RDA makes it an offence in S18C “to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people”.

Part 18D of the current Act sets out a wide range of defences. As the Australian Human Rights Commission explains“Exemptions under Section 18D of the RDA ensure that artistic works, scientific and academic inquiry, and fair comment on matters of public interest are exempt from section 18C, provided they are done reasonably and in good faith.”

For more information, visit the Inquiry terms of reference page and the Australian Law Reform Commission report on Traditional Rights and Freedoms—Encroachments by Commonwealth Laws.

In 2014, DCA reviewed the Government’s earlier proposed changes to the Act. We consulted with our membership, and our view then was that the current framework has worked well over a number of decades.

We also argued strongly at the time, that business has a critical role to play in achieving a cohesive society and that there should be detailed consultation with business on the work they are doing and the impact of any changes.

DCA is looking forward to receiving your views on the current debate over this legislation, by 5pm AEDT on Friday, 2 December 2016, which wil assist us provide a new submission to this latest inquiry.

Want to read more: