The passage of the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Act 2013 (‘the Act’) brings long overdue legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (‘LGBTI’) people. The law delivers legal protection from discrimination at a national level, filling important gaps in protection and setting a new national standard for the protection of transgender, intersex and gender diverse people.
Developments around the country
DownUnderAllOver is a round-up of legal news from both State and federal jurisdictions, and contains topical articles and short pieces from Alternative Law Journal committees around the country.
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has concluded that Australia’s offshore processing laws do not comply with fundamental human rights principles. The Committee conducted an inquiry into various aspects of the current offshore processing regime following requests from a number of human rights and refugee advocates. In its report, the Committee found that the government failed to demonstrate Australia’s current asylum seeker policies uphold fundamental human protections in key human rights treaties.
The High Court of Australia has dismissed an appeal by a resident of Palm Island, Ms Joan Maloney, against her conviction for possession of alcohol in a restricted area contrary to provisions of the Liquor Act 1992 (Qld). Ms Maloney claimed that the legislative regime breached the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) (‘RDA’) because it could not properly be regarding as being a ‘special measure’ for the benefit of Aboriginal peoples.
The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee has released a report on the value of a justice reinvestment approach to criminal justice in Australia. The concept of ‘justice reinvestment’ involves redirecting government money spent on prisons towards initiatives aimed at addressing the underlying social and economic determinants of crime.
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has expressed concern about whether the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Act 2012 (Cth) package of legislation complies with Australia’s human rights obligations. The Stronger Futures legislation expanded and extended the operation of the Northern Territory Emergency Response Act for a further period of ten years. Particular measures, such as income management, were expanded beyond the Northern Territory into prescribed areas around the country.