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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 February 2010) . . Page.. 471 ..


term “membership or non-membership of an association or organisation of employers or employees” as grounds for discrimination. I will address that point.

The bill inserts a new definition for industrial activity which is defined in the bill as:

(a) being or not being a member of, or joining, not joining or refusing to join, an industrial organisation or industrial association;

(b) establishing or being involved in establishing an industrial organisation or forming or being involved in forming an industrial association;

(c) organising or promoting or proposing to organise or promote a lawful activity on behalf of an industrial organisation or industrial association;

(d) encouraging, assisting, participating in or proposing to encourage, assist or participate in a lawful activity organised or promoted by an industrial organisation or industrial association;

(e) not participating in or refusing to participate in a lawful activity organised or promoted by an industrial organisation or industrial association;

(f) representing or advancing the views, claims or interests of members of an industrial organisation or industrial association.

While industry also supports the intent of this bill, some industry groups are concerned about the wording of this definition. Under this definition, everyone would be constantly undertaking an industrial activity as, on any given day, every person is either a union member or they are not a union member. This wording has been described as clunky and very broad.

HIA has informed us, in relation to the wording, that:

This seems to be unnecessarily complex drafting that is unjustified and confuses the issue when the previous definition that centred on membership or non-membership of an association or organisation was well understood.

The Canberra Business Council also has some concerns about the bill and have told us that:

The Human Rights Commission Legislation Amendment Bill involves amendments to the Discrimination Act 1991.

The major difficulty Canberra Business Council perceives with this amendment is not the range of situations to be covered under the definition of ‘industrial activity’ but rather selection of that term to replace the membership or non-membership phrase at Part 2 Section 7(1)(k) of the Act.

These situations, which are meant to represent those circumstances which can be grounds for discrimination under this act, do not appear to be satisfactorily encompassed by the phrase ‘industrial activity’.

Council suggests a new phase is needed if all these situations are to be included in the amendment to this act as a replacement for the existing phrase. One alternative may be to include each of these circumstances as separate attributes under Part 2 Section 7, or a redraft may be needed.


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