Published 2 March 2023
ACHRA members look forward to participating in the three-day Sydney WorldPride LGBTQIA+ Human Rights Conference from 1– 3 March 2023, including an ACHRA activation space. The conference will bring people together from across the world to tackle LGBTQIA+ issues and effect positive change. ACHRA hosted a Sydney WorldPride reception to welcome visiting Australian and international dignitaries and stakeholders. Helena Dalli, the European Union Commissioner for Equality delivered an address on her work to strengthen Europe’s commitment to inclusion and equality and lead the fight against discrimination and Victor Madrigal-Borloz, United Nations (UN) Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender addressed the reception on approaches to achieving LGBTQIA+ equality globally.
The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) presented the 2022 Investigation: Preventing sexual harassment in retail franchises. The investigation focused on Bakers Delight Holdings’ legal obligation to take reasonable and proportionate steps to eliminate sexual harassment as far as possible, known as ‘the positive duty’, under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic).
ACHRA welcomes reforms to the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) in late 2022, introducing a positive duty to prevent workplace sexual harassment, sex discrimination and victimisation. The positive duty is currently legislated in Victoria and the Northern Territory and being actively considered in Western Australia, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. ACHRA supports enactment of the positive duty to prevent sexual harassment in all Australian jurisdictions.
Members appreciated guest presenters Emerita Professor Margaret Thornton, Kieran Pender and Madeliene Castles from Australian National University presenting on Damages and Costs in Sexual Harassment Litigation: A Doctrinal, Qualitative and Quantitative Study which considers damages awarded and cost orders in Australian unlawful discrimination proceedings, pursuant to recommendations 24 and 25 of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work Report. ACHRA continues to endorse the implementation of all Respect@Work recommendations.
Professor Emeritus Geoff Gallop AC, University of Sydney presented his speech Substantive Equality – The Missing Link, addressing barriers and opportunities to achieve substantive equality and liberty and to protect rights across Australia, including through creation of an Australian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
Addressing human rights matters in places of detention, including introducing mechanisms to prevent torture and inhumane treatment, remains one of ACHRA’s focus areas. ACHRA is concerned by the extraordinary decision to terminate a tour of Australian places of detention by United Nations inspectors. To this end, ACHRA encourages governments across Australia to meet its obligations in the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) treaty. ACHRA will be advocating for the Commonwealth Government to publicly release the report that the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture has indicated it will be providing, in the interests of transparency and accountability.
For further information, contact the following ACHRA members:
Dr Helen Watchirs, ACT President and Human Rights Commissioner
02 6205 2222
Helen McKenzie, President
Mia Zahra, Executive Manager, Anti-Discrimination NSW
02 9268 5514
Traci Keys, A/Commissioner, Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission
08 8999 1444
Scott McDougall, Queensland Human Rights Commissioner
07 3021 9123
Jodeen Carney, South Australian Equal Opportunity Commissioner
08 7322 7070
Sarah Bolt, Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner
03 6165 7515
Ro Allen (ACHRA Chair), Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner
0437 084 175
Dr John Byrne, Western Australian Commissioner for Equal Opportunity
08 9216 3900
Leanne Smith, Chief Executive
02 9284 9740
06 Mar 2023
We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the ongoing connection Aboriginal people have to this land and recognise Aboriginal people as the original custodians of this land.