Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Legislation to Strengthen Anti-Discrimination Laws for Families

Joint Media Release with:

  • Hon Robert Mcclelland MP, Attorney-General

Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, today introduced legislation to provide stronger discrimination protections for Australians with family responsibilities.

“These changes will ensure that our anti-discrimination laws meet the needs of contemporary Australians and will also make it easier for people to understand their rights and responsibilities,” Mr McClelland said.

Amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 will:

  • establish breastfeeding as a separate ground of discrimination;
  • extend protections from discrimination on the grounds of family responsibilities to both women and men in all areas of employment;
  • ensure that protections from sex discrimination apply equally to women and men; and
  • provide greater protection from sexual harassment for students and workers.

“This will provide greater protection to children from sexual harassment including texting, social networking, and other forms of cyber bullying,” Ms Plibersek said.

Strengthening protections for workers with family responsibilities is an important step toward achieving economic equality between women and men.

The Bill is part of the Government’s response to the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs into eliminating discrimination and promoting gender equality.

The Government will also consider other recommendations from the Committee’s Report as part of its commitment in Australia’s Human Rights Framework to consolidate anti-discrimination legislation into a single comprehensive law.