Australia’s anti-discrimination law
In Australia, it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of a number of protected attributes including age, disability, race, sex, intersex status, gender identity and sexual orientation in certain areas of public life, including education and employment. Australia's federal anti-discrimination laws are contained in the following legislation:
- Age Discrimination Act 2004
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992
- Racial Discrimination Act 1975
- Sex Discrimination Act 1984.
The department also administers the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender. The guidelines outline a consistent gender classification system and standard of evidence required to establish or change gender on personal records for Australian Government departments and agencies.
Standards under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992
The Attorney-General's Department assists the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities; Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; and Department of Education and Training in the administration of the standards under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
The standards concern public transport, access to premises and education:
- Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002
- Disability (Access to Premises - Buildings) Standards 2010
- Disability Standards for Education 2005.
The disability standards are regularly reviewed by the relevant departments. More information is available from the following links:
- Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport
- Disability Standards for Education
- Disability (Access to Premises - Buildings) Standards.
Complaints of unlawful discrimination
The Attorney-General and the Attorney-General's Department cannot provide legal advice to the public and cannot investigate any complaints of unlawful discrimination or alleged breaches of human rights. Complaints of unlawful discrimination can be lodged with the Australian Human Rights Commission and relevant state and territory agencies.
The Australian Human Rights Commission has the statutory power to receive, investigate and conciliate complaints of unlawful discrimination under Australia's anti-discrimination legislation. If you believe you have been unlawfully discriminated you can lodge a complaint with the commission. More information about the complaints process, and contact details, can be found on the Australian Human Rights Commission website.
States and territories
Each state and territory has also enacted anti-discrimination legislation. Individuals can lodge complaints about discrimination, harassment and bullying at the state and territory level depending upon the circumstances of the complaint with the relevant agency in that state or territory. For more information, select the relevant state or territory below:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia.