Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission

 What’s happening? – 14 October 2022

Bill to amend the Anti-Discrimination Act 1992 (ADA) tabled

The Commissioner and the staff of the Anti-Discrimination Commission (ADC) are pleased to see the tabling of the Bill to amend the ADA. It addresses significant gaps in the way the ADC can do its core work promoting equality of opportunity and assisting those silenced and harmed by discrimination in the Northern Territory.

The amendments do this by:

  • Including more attributes as bases for protection from discrimination e.g. accommodation status, language and being subjected to domestic violence.
  • Updating language so it is more inclusive, e.g. disability, carer responsibility, relationship status.
  • Providing more ways to raise and resolve concerns e.g. representative complaints about systemic discrimination,
  • Creating a positive duty to prevent discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation.

The reforms also remove section 37A, which provided an exemption that enabled religious educational institutions to discriminate against a person in the area of work on the basis of their sexuality.

The reforms go some way to make the legislation fit for purpose and to enable proactive work addressing major concerns in the NT, particularly in the areas of race and disability discrimination and domestic and family violence.

To achieve real change the financial capacity of the ADC also needs to be addressed to enable it to educate the NT community about the rights and duties that apply to all Territorians under the reinvigorated Act.