Page 3019 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 23 August 2005
with Dr Foskey that it places an additional emphasis on human rights and welfare and I believe that the amendment that Dr Foskey proposes will work well with the existing provisions in the objects clause. The government proposes to support amendment No 1.
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (11.27): I note the government is supporting the amendment; so it will get up. I reiterate what I said earlier: already we have instances of a number of people who, one would expect, would have their matters looked at by the Human Rights Office, now the human rights commission, and the commission was unable to. I do not know whether Dr Foskey’s addition to these particular subsections in the objects clause is going to help or not. Again, it remains to be seen. I certainly would remain sceptical, despite Dr Foskey’s very best intentions here, that this really will have any huge effect. But only time will tell.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause 6, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 7 agreed to.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.28): I move amendment No 2 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at 3105]. This amendment will amend clause 8, part 2, the definition of disability. It is a very small amendment. It adds a note to explain that a broader definition of disability applies to discrimination matters and that complaints made under the Discrimination Act are not limited to the definition in the Human Rights Commission Act, the reason for which I will now explain.
The definition of disability adopted in this bill has been taken from the Disability Services Act 1991. The definition in the Discrimination Act is much broader because it incorporates discrimination on the basis of perceived disability or future disability. It has been suggested that the definition contained in the Discrimination Act should be used in this bill.
However, I believe that this could cause problems, as the definition in the Discrimination Act is too broad for use in relation to complaints about access to services. It is, however, important that there is no confusion over the definition that applies to discrimination matters, and we must ensure that people considering a discrimination complaint do not think that the definition in the Human Rights Commission Act overrides or compromises the definition in the Discrimination Act. The amendment inserts a note into the legislation to explain that a broader definition applies to discrimination matters and reduces, therefore, the potential for misunderstanding.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (11.31): As Dr Foskey has explained, proposed amendment 2 adds a nova clause 8 (2) to the bill. It notes that the definition of disability in relation to disability services is different from the definition of disability for the purposes of the Discrimination Act 1991.