Reports of sexuality and trans discrimination to the Australian Human Rights Commission have risen again in the last year, despite the continued lack of a federal sexuality discrimination act.
Individual cases of anti-gay or trans discrimination have risen 18 percent to 185 since July 2007, mostly related to employment. Only 15 of those reports were pursued as complaints, according to the Commission’s annual report released this week.
It further revealed complaints made under the dedicated sex, race, age and disability discrimination acts were conciliated 45 to 74 percent of the time, while less than quarter of non-legislated areas like sexuality could be considered successfully resolved.
One of those conciliations resulted in a $5000 compensation payout to a call centre worker subjected to harassment by his manager.
The manager would repeatedly call him -˜big gay bird’ and -˜poof’ and, on one occasion, said to him, -˜Get away from my arse, you poof.’ He claimed that, because of the manager’s behaviour, other staff also called him these names, the report stated.
The sales representative was sacked and his complaints initially dismissed as just a joke before his case was successfully conciliated through the Commission’s complaint service.
Labor promised to introduce sexuality anti-discrimination legislation in the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, but later removed it from its first term priorities -” replaced with family law reforms recognising same-sex couples and their children.
Commissioner Graeme Innes said he was also looking forward to same-sex discrimination in federal laws being eliminated with the successful passage of recommendations from his 2007 Same-Sex: Same Entitlements report.
We hope that we will finally see the removal of discrimination against people in same-sex relationships in federal law with the passage of the reform legislation, Innes said.
The Commission also began a national charter of rights project in June this year with a roundtable meeting of supportive organisations, aimed at fostering a coordinated approach ahead of the government’s forthcoming national consultation on human rights protections.
HREOC also completed significant internal research work regarding charter issues and commenced development of a plan for ongoing charter of rights work, with a focus on facilitating community engagement in the national consultation.