Lawyers have rebuffed claims the wording of the federal government’s proposed anti-discrimination law could pose a threat to free speech. But while they scratch their heads about the reason for the overhaul, they’re preparing for an onslaught of new work if the laws pass.
The exposure draft of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill, released last month by Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Finance and Deregulation Minister Penny Wong, consolidates anti-discrimination laws relating to race, s-x, disability and age. If it passes Parliament early next year it will replace five acts relating to discrimination. The Government argues it will remedy the “complex and inconsistent” Commonwealth anti-discrimination laws that currently exists.