Preliminary Submission to the NSW Law Reform Commission Review of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)

PIAC has long advocated for comprehensive review and modernisation of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW), which is now widely recognised as the worst anti-discrimination law of any jurisdiction in Australia. This includes through our 2021 Report ‘Leader to Laggard: The case for modernisation of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act.’

We therefore welcome the Government’s referral of the Act to the NSW Law Reform Commission for review. In this preliminary submission, we make only one recommendation:

That the NSW Law Reform Commission recommends the repeal of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW), and the drafting of a new anti-discrimination law, based on best practice from other jurisdictions and drawing on community and expert input.

The remainder of the submission covers a range of keys issues across the 12 substantive terms of reference for the NSWLRC review, including supporting:

  • Modernising and simplifying the Act, including its language, structure and numbering
  • Protecting more of our community, through reforms to protected attributes ensuring they appropriately cover the LGBTIQ+ community, people of faith and no faith, people with disability and others
  • Covering all areas of public life
  • Modernising the test for discrimination, including removing the comparator test
  • Harmonising vilification protections
  • Bringing harassment laws into the 21st century, including adopting the reforms of the Respect@Work Report
  • Imposing a positive obligation to make adjustments for people with disability, and
  • Reforming exceptions, including removing the blanket exceptions for private educational authorities under the Act.
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Towards Truth is a partnership between PIAC and UNSW Indigenous Law Centre.
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