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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (16 November) . . Page.. 3532 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

particular Bill. There is similar comment in connection with some of the others, and if we do get to debate these Bills on Thursday, the Minister has got a lot of work to do in the meantime. Thank you, members, for your indulgence.


MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (11.02): Mr Speaker, I present the Discrimination Amendment Bill (No 2) 1999, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

I seek leave to have my presentation speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows:

For some time now there has been a level of anxiety amongst the disabled community due to the interpretation of section 27 of the Discrimination Act 1991, in the disability case of Re ACT Community Care and Discrimination Commissioner and Vella and Ors (number AT 98/14, 4 November 1998), decided by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), and in a similar case more recently by the ACT Supreme Court in Richardson v ACT Health and Community Care Service and the ACT [1999] ACTSC 83 (27 May Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999).

Section 27 provides that it is not unlawful under the Discrimination Act 1991 to do certain acts for the purpose of ensuring that members of an identified disadvantaged group in the community have equal opportunities with other persons, or to provide such persons access to facilities, services or opportunities to meet their special needs. For example, it is under this provision that special purpose built accommodation is provided for people with a physical disability, or special educational programs are provided for the intellectually impaired. Persons without a disability are barred from bringing a discrimination action. Similarly, men cannot complain if special measures, such as a women's health clinic, are provided for women pursuant to section 27.

However, the AAT in Vella and the ACT Supreme Court in Richardson have interpreted section 27 to an additional effect. In the Vella case, the four residents of a house purpose built for people with

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