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Wednesday, 10 October 1984
Page: 1605

(Question No. 987)


Senator Colston asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 22 August 1984:

(1) Does the Human Rights Commission Act 1981 bind the Crown in right of the Commonwealth.

(2) Does this Act bind the Crown in right of a State or of the Northern Territory; if not, what is the reason for not so binding the Crown and does the Government intend to extend the binding provisions.


Senator Gareth Evans —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) No. As to the reason for this, the policy embodied in the Human Rights Commission Act was that of the previous Government. However, the Human Rights Commission also exercises functions under the Racial Discrimination Act, the provisions of which are binding on the States and the Northern Territory, and the Sex Discrimination Act, which is binding on the States and the Northern Territory in certain respects.

The policy of the present Government is expressed in the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Bill which is now before the Senate. The provisions of that Bill dealing with discrimination in employment and occupation are expressed to be binding on the States and the Northern Territory. The new Commission established under that Bill will also, as the present Commission, exercise functions under the Racial Discrimination and Sex Discrimination Acts.