Australian Football League (AFL) CEO and Australian Multicultural Advisory Council chair Andrew Demetriou has called on organisations around Australia to “embrace diversity”.

Speaking at a conference hosted by the Human Rights Law Centre at RMIT’s Story Hall, Demetriou said the AFL had made inroads in changing its culture, especially around racial vilification.

Asked if the AFL was doing enough to combat homophobia, Demetriou said the AFL had taken steps to update its code of conduct to include prohibiting vilification on the grounds of sexuality.

“I reject that anyone [involved in the AFL] is homophobic …” Demetriou said.

“Like any group, we get approached by various groups, and we do our very best to cater for those as best we can and I’ve got no doubt in time [AFL’s progression on racism] will be the same in addressing homophobia.”

Demetriou joined a crowd of community law stakeholders gathered to discuss changes to Australia’s human rights law.

Australian National University College of Law Associate Professor Simon Rice called on those in anti-discrimination tribunal and courts to use their powers to pursue discrimination and said anti-discrimination laws need to shift their focus so courts can better determine if a discriminatory incident has occurred, rather than getting bogged down in process.

Telstra Human Resources manager of diversity Troy Roderick said improving diversity makes better business sense for customers and staff. “We all have our differences and we should all be included,” he said.
Telstra was named as one of the top five companies for GLBTI inclusion in the 2011 Australian Workplace Equality Index

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