The Anti-Discrimination Act 1991
prohibits discrimination on the basis of (a) sex; (b) marital status;(c) pregnancy;(d) parental status;(e) breastfeeding;(f) age;(g) race;(h) impairment;(i) religion;(j) political belief or activity;(k) trade union activity;(l) lawful sexual activity;(m) association with, or relation to, a person identified on the basis of any of the above attributes. [SOURCE: www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/ACTS/1991/91AC085.pdf]
The Act prohibits discrimination in a number of areas including work and work-related practices, education, goods and services, superannuation, insurance, disposition of land, accommodation, club membership and affairs, administration of State laws and programs and Local government area. For example, in terms of discrimination in the work area:
A person must not discriminate—15.(1) (a) in any variation of the terms of work; or(b) in denying or limiting access to opportunities for promotion, transfer, training or other benefit to a worker; or(c) in dismissing a worker; or(d) by denying access to a guidance program, an apprenticeship training program or other occupational training or retraining program; or(e) in developing the scope or range of such a program; or(f) by treating a worker unfavorably in any way in connection with work. [SOURCE: www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/ACTS/1991/91AC085.pdf]

The Act is extensive in the number of areas where discrimination is prohibited however, it only outlaws public discrimination and not private.

Under this Act in Chapter 7, the Anti-Discrimination Commission of Queensland has been established. For a copy of this chapter click here . Complaints sent to the Commission must be in writing and set out sufficient details to indicate an alleged contravention of the Act and it must be lodged within one year of the alleged contravention of the Act. The Commission can only help of the discriminatory treatment happened in public and comes under the regulations of the Act. It also has the power to help if the person has been vilified in public because of their race, religion, gender identity or sexuality. This is different to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) as racially vilifying acts can be dealt with under the Commission and not with the Attorney General. This means that the offenders in Queensland cannot face criminal prosecution but instead, have their issue solved by conciliation which is not necessarily binding. Another limitation of the Commission is that it cannot decide whether discrimination has happened or not, it just aims to solve disputes. If disputes are not solved then the matter is taken to the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal for a hearing and a legally enforceable decision. Much like the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW, the Commission also aims to promote human rights in Queensland.

[SOURCE: www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/ACTS/1991/91AC085.pdfhttp://www.adcq.qld.gov.au/index.html


The anti-discrimination legislation for Western Australia is the Western Australia Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (WA) which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, race, religious or political conviction, age, racial harassment, impairment, family responsibility or family status, gender history." [SOURCE: http://www.hreoc.gov.au/info_for_employers/law/index.html#state]

The areas in which discrimination is prohibited are: "employment; partnerships; professional or trade organisations; qualifying bodies; employment agencies; applicants and employees and commission agents; application forms; advertisements; education; access to places and vehicles; provision of good services and facilities; accommodation; clubs; land." [SOURCE: http://www.hreoc.gov.au/info_for_employers/law/index.html#state]

This Act addresses discrimination in advertising which is the only state (along with South Australia) to address it in its legislation. This shows that the WA Government has progressed beyond the standard areas of discrimination to try to protect people from more public demonstrations of discrimination. The Act also aims to eliminate racial harassment in the workplace, accommodation and education institutions.

Under this Act, the Equal Opportunity Commission has been set up to operate in much the same way as the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board. Complaints are heard and if they fall under the jurisdiction of the Western Australia Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (WA) and are solved by conciliation. If a complaint is dismissed by the Commission then the applicant has the right to take it to the State Administrative Tribunal to be heard. In addition to this, if complaints are not solved by the Commission then they will be referred to the State Administrative Tribunal which is an independent statutory body.

There is also another agency that administers the Act. It is the Office of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment and it "works with government agencies to promote equal employment opportunities in the public sector, and to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and processes put in place to achieve that aim." [SOURCE: http://www.equalopportunity.wa.gov.au/discrimination.html]


A brief comparison between the anti-discrimination legislation of each different Australian State and Territory is provided here. Every Act is very similar to one another, each protecting people from discrimination in similar areas. Each Act only protects people from public discrimination and has similar bodies where complaints can be heard and solved.