Despite some progress, there remain important gaps in anti-discrimination protection at both state and federal levels.
The implementation of groundbreaking federal anti-discrimination protection on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status in 2013 was groundbreaking. Despite that, there are gaps.
At a federal level, religious organisations continue to receive wide-ranging exemptions from anti-discrimination law. This means that a religious school can expel a student or fire a teacher on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Similar discrimination can occur legally in hospitals or homelessness and domestic violence services.
The only exception to this is in the provision of aged care services that are federally funded and we are seeking to build on this important exception. We are working towards the removal of all exemptions in every publicly funded service provision at a minimum.
At a state level, similar religious exemptions apply. Moreover, the Anti Discrimination Act 1977 contains outdated terminology and doesn’t protect bisexual or intersex people at all.
The ‘incitement’ model of proving vilification sets the bar at an unreasonably high threshold, and in addition the penalties for homosexual and transgender vilification are just one-fifth of those for racial vilification.
We are working to ensure the NSW act will be modernised and that vilification protections will be addressed.