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Monday, 23 March 1987
Page: 1353


Mr SLIPPER(10.55) —Tonight I wish to refer again to the latest antics of that well-known puppet of the looney Left in this country. I refer, of course, to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. In particular, I wish to emphasise a matter which was raised in the Courier-Mail on Friday, 20 March, under the headline `Doctor and hotel ordered to pay women in separate human rights decisions'. I can do little better than quote from the newspaper as far as these two most recent cases are concerned:

Case 1-The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has ordered an Indooroopilly doctor to pay a woman $1000 damages-for asking her if she was married or single.

The general practitioner said last night: `It's all extraordinary. I have done nothing wrong and I refuse to pay.'

The incident which saw him summoned to a commission hearing happened in his surgery's waiting room when a woman requested a consultation.

`She was aggressive and I had had a bad day,' he said. `For various reasons, including wanting to know who to contact if the patient is ill, I asked her if she was married or single.'

The doctor said the woman refused to say what her marital status was, preferring to use the title Ms.

The woman left without having a medical consultation.

`The next thing that happened, I got a phone call saying I must come to see the Commission. I was told if I didn't go, I could face a $10,000 fine or six month's imprisonment.'

`As the person being complained about, I have no right whatsoever. They can make as much trouble as they like and I can't do anything about it.'

The doctor said that at the hearing, he insisted on his solicitor being present but was not allowed to tape record the proceedings.

He said he and his solicitor noticed that the independent arbitrator hearing the case wore a `womens rights' badge.

The doctor said he offered to apologise for any embarrassment caused to the woman, but the commission demanded he pay the woman $1,000 damages over the incident. He said that when he refused, the commission suggested he give $1,000 to charity instead.

The Commission also wanted him to agree to it writing to the Australian Medical Association and the Medical Board, advising that his conduct breached the Sex Discrimination Act.

`It is a dangerous precedent,' he said, `I am not going to pay a cent.'

Who can blame that doctor for standing up for his rights as a decent citizen in this society against that expensive, ideological left wing extravagance known as the Human Rights Commission and the fanatics who staff it? The article continues:

Case 2-A Gold Coast woman has been awarded $8,000 in closed proceedings before the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

The woman, who cannot be identified, was awarded the payment on Wednesday, after her union, the Federated Liquor and Allied Industries Employees Union of Australia, filed a complaint.

The union alleged a Tugun hotel had discriminated against her by demoting her from a supervisor to a bottle shop attendant.

The terms of settlement, some details of which were not be be made public, include: The payment of $8,000 in compensation to the woman; Disciplinary action against the manager responsible for telling the woman that `women just can't manage'; Seminars to be conducted by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission on paid time at the hotel on the issues of sexual discrimination and sexual harassment; An apology to the female employee issued on behalf of the hotel's proprietor; A written reference acknowledging the woman's ability to supervise.

At a time when Australia is going down the economic plughole, when we are a country which is virtually bankrupt, the Government, represented in the chamber tonight by the Minister for Social Security (Mr Howe), is supporting wild extravagances such as the Human Rights Commission.

In the year 1985-86 almost $6m was wasted on this fanatical extravagance. Australia is a country in real trouble, yet the Government comes into this place time and time again to defend the indefensible. Under the direction of the Australian Labor Party the Human Rights Commission has managed to hide itself and its operations behind secrecy. As more cases of bias surface, it is becoming apparent to all Australians that this heavy-handed, irrelevant body is not needed. Australians do not want the Human Rights Commission. The National Party of Australia does not want the Human Rights Commission. The Human Rights Commission should and will be abolished when the National Party is once again in government.


Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member's time has expired. It being 11 p.m., the debate is interrupted. The House stands adjourned till 10 a.m. tomorrow.

House adjourned at 11 p.m.