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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 2 Hansard (23 February) . . Page.. 470..


MR DOSZPOT (continuing):

second attempt to rewrite history about what actually happened within the committee meetings.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Human Rights Commission Legislation Amendment Bill 2009

Debate resumed from 10 December 2009, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (12.15): I rise to support the Human Rights Commission Legislation Amendment Bill 2009. The bill seeks to amend four acts, according to the explanatory statement. Firstly, it will amend the Discrimination Act to replace "transsexuality"with "gender identity"as one of the prohibited grounds for discrimination and as one of the unlawful and serious vilification offences, and it implements a new definition for gender identity.

It also replaces "membership or non-membership of an association or organisation of employers or employees"with "industrial activity"as one of the prohibited grounds for discrimination together with a new definition of "industrial activity". It will also introduce some new protections against unlawful victimisation towards a person who makes a discrimination complaint or gives information in relation to a matter under the Discrimination Act.

Further, it will amend the Health Professionals Act 2004 to exempt a health profession board from the requirement to notify a health professional about complaints referred by the Human Rights Commission. According to the explanatory statement, this is designed to provide the board and the commission with flexibility as to the course to be taken in relation to the complaint. It will amend the Human Rights Commission Act 2005 to allow the commission more flexibility in relation to giving progress reports to complainants.

It will allow the commission not to consider a complaint if the complainant withdraws the complaint before notice of the complaint has been given to the person complained about. It will further allow the commission to treat a complaint about a person as a complaint against another person if the commission considers the complaint more appropriately applies to the other person.

The bill will require the commission to refer to the health profession board any complaints about health professionals and it provides protection from civil liability for a person making a complaint or providing information in relation to a complaint doing so honestly and without recklessness. It will also omit the discrimination commissioner from the list of people that must be notified of an ACAT hearing under the amended Mental Health Treatment and Care Act 1994.

As I mentioned earlier, the Canberra Liberals support the intent of the bill. We recognise the importance of living in a society that is without inappropriate discrimination. However, industry groups have expressed some concern to the Canberra Liberals about the definition of "industrial activity", which is to replace the


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