Submissions Invited on Terms of Reference for Review of NSW Anti-Discrimination Act

20 July 2023

Submissions on the Terms of Reference for the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act Review are now open, and we invite your participation.

Our previous briefing, dated 7 July 2023 advised of an upcoming opportunity for CSA to make a submission on behalf of our members.  Prior to opening up consultation more broadly the NSW Law Reform Commission is seeking submissions in relation to the terms of reference and scope of the Review.

We invite member schools to contact us with any feedback or comments.  Please email your contributions to our Director of Public Policy, Mark Spencer

As a refresher, the details are outlined here:

The NSW Attorney General, Michael Daley, has asked the NSW Law Reform Commission to review the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) - with the likelihood of significant changes for Christian schools.

The Terms of Reference for the review are very broad, "to review and report on the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)".  The scope of matters to be considered is equally wide -

  • whether the Act could be modernised and simplified to better promote the equal enjoyment of rights and reflect contemporary community standards
  • whether the range of attributes protected against discrimination requires reform
  • whether the areas of public life in which discrimination is unlawful should be reformed
  • whether the existing tests for discrimination are clear, inclusive and reflect modern understandings of discrimination
  • the adequacy of protections against vilification, including (but not limited to) whether these protections should be harmonised with the criminal law
  • the adequacy of the protections against sexual harassment and whether the Act should cover harassment based on other protected attributes
  • whether the Act should include positive obligations to prevent harassment, discrimination and vilification, and to make reasonable adjustments to promote full and equal participation in public life
  • exceptions, special measures and exemption processes
  • the adequacy and accessibility of complaints procedures and remedies
  • the powers and functions of the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW and its President, including potential mechanisms to address systemic discrimination
  • the protections, processes and enforcement mechanisms that exist in other Australian and international anti-discrimination and human rights laws, and other NSW laws
  • the interaction between the Act and Commonwealth anti-discrimination laws
  • any other matters the Commission considers relevant to these Terms of Reference.

While on their face innocuous, phrases such as 'reflect contemporary community standards' invite recommendations that undermine essential and immutable human rights, such as religious freedom.

CSA will update schools as this develops over the course of the coming months.


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