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Tuesday, 22 May 1973
Page: 2371


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - by leave - The Australian Government has decided to ratify the convention adopted by the International Labour Conference in 1958 - No. Ill - abolishing discrimination in employment and occupation. This will be the third ILO human rights convention ratified by Australia in the period since the present Government came to office, the others being Convention No. 87 - Right to Organise, 1948; and Convention No. 98 - Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining, 1949. Only one ILO human rights convention will remain unratified - No. 100 which deals with equal remuneration for work of equal value. I am consulting the State Ministers for Labour with a view to early ratification of that convention.

The House will recall that the Whitlam Government in the very early days of its reign briefed counsel to intervene in the national wage case to support the application by the Australian Council of Trade Unions for equal pay for work of equal value. To a large extent the application was successful. The Conciliation and Arbitration Commission provided for a phasing in operation which my Government, of course, does not accept as being essential, at any rate so far as the Commonwealth Public Service is concerned. We are currently discussing ways and means of making it possible to give effect to the principles enunciated by the Conciliation and Arbitration Act in respect of equal pay, so that females employed by the Commonwealth may have the benefit of the judgment of the Commission in respect of this important matter.

The extent to which ILO convention No. Ill has been accepted as a basic human rights instrument is demonstrated by the fact that 79 countries have ratified it. The ratification of this convention is a very important step. We regard it as a most significant step and we are proud to be able to announce that it was this Government, after such a short period in office, which has been able to ratify that important convention. The honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) is about to leave the chamber. If he will come back the honourable gentleman will find this speech of mine very important because it does deal with human rights. The ratification means that Australia is at last joining with the other responsible members of the international community in affirming opposition to discrimination in employment and occupation. It testifies to the Australian Government's determination to remove discrimination in employment and occupation from the Australian scene, not simply by removing cases of blatant discrimination but also by taking positive action to promote real equality of opportunity in employment.

Discrimination is an anti-social offence. That is how the Government sees it and that is what it is. It affects not only those people who are directly affected as active agents or as its victims. It is as much a matter of general concern as any other social problem. It is a human rights problem. It is a moral problem. It is an economic problem. To practise discrimination is to practice injustice, intolerance and all of the things against which a Christian nation ought to turn its back. To ignore discrimination is to ignore injustice. In purely economic terms the community as a whole loses its investment in education and training, and individuals lose their own inputs in time and effort if they are prevented from accepting occupations or employment commensurate with their qualifications and experience because of discriminatory practices.

Discrimination in employment and occupation must have an adverse effect on the overall productivity of the work force. If certain people are denied the opportunity of joining the work force because of some reason associated with religion, politics, race, sex, nationality or any other factor like that, productivity must suffer because fewer people than the number otherwise employed are working in the work force. It reduces the capacity of individuals and groups to earn wages and salaries at levels to which their qualifications, skills, experience and ability rightly entitle them, thereby restricting their capacity to improve their standard of living.

Discrimiation can take many forms. It can be the result of racial hatred, blind prejudice, fear and intolerance, or, in some cases, ignorance. I have seen examples in this Parliament of the discrimination that comes from blind prejudice where certain members of the Parliament have stood in this place and made speeches based upon blind prejudice accusing upright, decent Australians of being enemies of the State and agents of a foreign power, based purely upon political hatred and political prejudice.. It is not always easy to determine whether particular action constitutes discrimination; it is very difficult indeed. I anticipate that the pursuit of the policy of non-discrimination in employment and occupation will throw light on such cases. Such cases and such issues should not be put aside or swept under a carpet of community apathy. Instead they should be examined, clarified and, if necessary, acted upon.

Provisions of the Convention

International Labour Organisation convention No. Ill is unusual among international labour standards in that it requires the declaration and pursuit of a policy, rather than compliance with specific standards. Most conventions specify specific standards and require compliance with those standards. This convention is a declaration of intent, a declaration of a government's policy, in this case in respect to discrimination on grounds of politics, religion, race, nationality or sex in employment or in employment opportunities. The convention requires ratifying countries, first to declare a national policy designed to promote, equality of opportunity and treatment in respect of employment and occupation with a view to eliminating any discrimination in respect thereof, and, secondly, to pursue the policy enunciated in accordance with the range of action specified in the convention. For the purpose of the convention, discrimination' includes any distinction, exclusion or preference made on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of oppportunity or treatment in employment or occupation.

I would like to emphasise at the outset that this statement and the ILO convention are concerned only with discrimination in employment and occupation. Of course, discrimination can occur in a much wider range than simply in the employment field. For example, it can occur in the field of housing, admission to organisations, clubs and societies, access to public places and facilities, access to finance and participation in sport. South Africa is a glaring example of the last instance to which I have made reference. However, this convention is not concerned with these kinds of discrimination. Any distinction, exclusion or preference in employment based on the inherent requirements of a particular job or special measures of protection or assistance provided for in other ILO conventions or recommendations are not deemed to be discrimination within the meaning of this convention No. 111.

Measures affecting individuals justifiably suspected of, or engaged in, activities prejudicial to the security of the state are not deemed to be discrimination under the convention, provided that the individual concerned shall have the right of appeal to a competent body established in accordance with national practice. So if a person belonged to a subversive organisation and he was likely to be a threat to the security of the country, of course we would have a right to exclude that person from employment in sensitive areas of government where his bent or prejudice could be of detriment to the country's security. So I want to make it clear that when we talk about discrimination in employment we are referring to discrimination of that kind where the nation discriminates for its own protection. The AttorneyGeneral (Senator Murphy) is considering the establishment of an appeals commission which would, among other things, cover this sort of situation.

We say that where discrimination is practised for the purposes of safeguarding the nation's security, that discrimination has to be justified. There has to be a real justification for its use. Therefore, a person against whom a veto is made in regard to employment must have a chance to appeal against the decision in order to establish, if he can, that it is based upon wrong premises. As I said, we propose to do that. Apart from declaring a policy, the convention requires a ratifying country, by methods appropriate to national conditions and practice:

(a)   to seek the co-operation of employers* and workers' organisations and other appropriate bodies in promoting the acceptance and observance of this policy;

(b)   to enact such legislation and to promote such educational programs as may be calculated to secure the acceptance and observance of this policy;

(c)   to repeal any statutory provisions and modify and administer instructions or practices which are inconsistent with the policy;

(d)   to pursue the policy in respect of employment under the direct control of a national authority;

(e)   to ensure observance of the policy in the activities of vocational guidance, vocational training and placement services under the direction of a national authority; and

(f)   to indicate in its annual reports on the application of the convention the action taken in pursuance of the policy and the results secured by such action.

Application of the Convention in Australia

Ratification of this convention by Australia requires declaration of the policy as defined in the convention. This statement fulfils that requirement. Secondly, it requires that the policy be pursued. I shall deal now with the action already taken or proposed to fulfil the requirements for specific action I have listed. In pursuing the policy the Government is relying quite heavily upon a program of action drawn up by a tripartite working party established by the National Labour Advisory Council for this purpose. Here I acknowledge this initiative of the Council when my predecessor, the Honourable Phillip Lynch, who is sitting in the wings of the chamber, was chairman. Goodness only knows whether his Cabinet would have allowed him ever to have ratified the convention. It probably would not have done so, but that Cabinet no longer exists and today we have a forward-looking Cabinet which acts promptly in ratifying these kinds of conventions.-

I shall deal with each requirment separately. The first requirement, requirement (a), is to seek the co-operation of employer and worker organisations and other appropriate bodies in promoting the acceptance and observance of this policy. I have already written to the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Associated Chambers of Manu factures of Australia and the Australian Council of Employers Federations to seek their co-operation in promoting the acceptance and observance of the policy. In the near future I shall be writing to other employer and worker organisations to advise them of the policy and to seek their co-operation in pursuing it. 1 shall also be writing in the same vein to such groups as the United Nations Association and its associated Committee on the Status of Women and to significant bodies representing Aboriginals, women and religious groups. Naturally the Government will be relying also on the support of Federal and State members of Parliament. I am pleased that so many honourable members have seen fit to remain in the chamber while I explain this important convention to the Parliament. The Government will rely also on the political parties in ensuring that the policy is made effective. In addition, I have sought the cooperation of the State Ministers of Labour both for ratification and for the program of action to give effect to the requirments of the convention. I am happy to report that all of them have agreed to ratification and to the program of action. At this stage I thank personally the State Labour Ministers for the fine degree of co-operation which they have given to the Commonwealth and to me personally. They could not have been more helpful. I hope that their co-operation will be acknowledged by their respective States, whether they be Ministers of Labour representing Liberal Party governments, Country Party governments or Labor Party governments. The 6 Ministers are entitled to the fullest credit and fullest commendation for the way they have co-operated in giving effect to these International Labour Organisation decisions.

The second requirement, requirement (b), is to enact such legislation and to promote such educational programs as may be calculated to secure the acceptance and observance of the policy. In its workers education manual, Fighting Discrimination in Employment and Occupation', the International Labour Office has pointed out that legislating against discrimination does not necessarily remove discrimination. We need more than legislation. We need more than penal sanctions against discrimination. What we really need is education - to educate the public to resent and to turn their backs on discrimination and to reject discrimination not because they fear penalties for discrimination but because of a deep sense of the injustice which is entailed in discrimination. Overseas experience suggests that fundamental changes in community and individual attitudes are necessary before discriminatory practices can be eradicated and, especially, before the more positive goal of achieving a situation where everyone has equal opportunity in employment and occuptation on the basis of their own abilities, their own qualities and their own desires can be achieved.

These are, course, long term tasks requiring the creation of a climate in which discrimination will wither away by reason of the fact that people in our society will have become enlightened enough to want to see an end to discrimination. Moreover, where there is legislation to outlaw discrimination, the obtaining of convictions can present difficulties and the number of convictions can give the impression that an anti-discriminatory policy is working whereas indicators relating to the relative employment positions of various groups can show at the same time that very little real change is occurring. Furthermore, in the Australian context statutory machinery already exists in some areas for dealing with alleged discriminatory action; for example some industrial tribunals in respect of dismissals and Public Service Board appeals machinery in respect of promotions and dismissals. Where these established arrangements are appropriate for dealing with cases it would be undesirable, in my view, to interfere with their operation.

Finally, the adoption of comprehensive legislation would require complementary Commonwealth and State legislation and this would inevitably, of course, delay action. We do not want delay. We are prepared, willing and determined to do everything necessary to eliminate delay so that we can begin the great work which is in front of us and which we are now obligated to undertake by the terms of convention No. 111. It is for these reasons that emphasis is being placed on promotion of a climate of opinion favourable to the policy of equality of opportunity by education programs and by seeking to resolve discriminatory situations by conciliation rather than by legislative and court action. However, this does not preclude legislation either on a particular matter or generally at a later stage should the need for such action become evident. Should that need arise, my Government will not hesitate to legislate to prevent discrimination. I would be surprised to find any opposition from the other side of the Parliament to such a proposal. One thing, I am sure, on which the Parliament is united to a man is the elimination of discrimination in this field.

In view of the emphasis placed on developing a climate of opinion favourable to achieving the objective of equality of opportunity in employment and occupation, it is esential that a wide range of educational programs should be developed. In the first instance it is necessary to publicise the Government's policy and the availability of the machinery at the national and State levels. I am arranging for a wide distribution of this statement and for the preparation of articles, pamphlets, posters and other information designed to foster public understanding and acceptance of that policy. I am pleased to say that in my Department we have a senior officer, with people under his jurisdiction, who is noted for his tremendous grasp of ILO conventions and ratifications and of ILO policies and machinery. Perhaps no other person in the southern hemisphere has a better grip of the subject than Mr Keith McKenzie of the Department of Labour. He is actively pursuing the policies which I have just outlined. Right now he is supervising the preparation of material, pamphlets, posters and other educational material. He will see that it is distributed as widely as possible, and he will do all things possible to ensure that this is not just an empty gesture but that what I am making today is the announcement of a policy of a real, determined intention by the Government to stamp out the kind of injustice to which I have been referring.

In carrying out these activities I am enlisting the support of organisations and groups and I have mentioned some of these under a previous heading. I shall also be calling on the Women's Bureau of my Department ;o broaden and intensify its activities in the field of women's employment, paying particular attention to promoting equality of opportunity for women and co-ordinating the work of other agencies and organisations involved in this area. I am pleased to say that the Women's Bureau is being strengthened. Its Director, Mrs Lyne-Brown, has been involved in the discussions that were necessary for this paper to be prepared. Tomorrow she will be brought to die Parliament to listen to the debate on paid maternity leave, if that debate is called on tomorrow. But in any event, she will advise and consult with me on questions affecting women generally.

In association with my colleague, the. Minister for the Media (Senator Douglas McClelland), I shall be seeking the support of the media, particularly of newspaper proprietors, in publicising the policy and the avenues open to people who consider they are victims of discrimination. A difficult and complex matter to be faced is the elimination of discriminatory practices in advertising job vacancies. It is not so long ago that advertisements or notifications that appeared in the Government 'Gazette' actually discriminated between sexes. My Government has taken steps to ensure that the Government 'Gazette' shall not discriminate between sexes and that positions that are vacant shall be advertised without any reference being made or preference given to a male as against a female. Requirement (c) is to repeal any statutory provisions and modify any administrative instructions or practices which are inconsistent with the policy, and requirement (d) is to pursue the national policy in respect of employment under the direct control of a national authority. Action has been taken in recent years to remove, from legislation and awards those provisions which discriminated in employment on the grounds of race or colour.

In relation to discrimination on the basis of sex, action taken in the Commonwealth and State jurisdictions has brought legislation, awards and administrative practices into closer conformity with the convention. An examination of the Commonwealth Public Service Act and Regulations and administrative instructions is currently under way with a view to removing any remaining traces of discrimination against women in the Commonwealth Public Service. Any instances of sex discrimination in awards will be taken up with the unions and employers concerned. I am sorry to say that there is within this Capital Territory now a discrimination against women in the engagement of apprentices. This is not the Government's fault; it is not the employer's fault; and it is not wholly the unions' fault. But it is the fault of someone. It is perhaps the fault of the 3 of them jointly. But this is something which we propose to take up with the parties concerned as soon as possible.

The Parliament will be glad, of course, to recall that my Government recently appointed Justice Evatt, a most outstanding woman in the. law, to the Bench of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. She is presidential member of the Commission. This appointment was not simply a gesture to women. We were able to appoint Justice Evatt to the position because she had better qualifications in our view than anybody else offering, men or women. That is why we appointed her. It was not an empty meaningless gesture to women but a recognition .aid acknowledgement of the tremendous capabilities and competence of a woman. She has taken up her duties and is already carrying them out with great distinction to herself personally and to the Commission of which she is now a presidential member. So far as is known there are no legislative and administrative instructions or official practices which discriminate in employment on the grounds of religion. There, may be some cases in practice where there is discrimination on grounds of political opinion, national extraction or social origin within the terms of the convention. There may be and there probably are some cases of discrimination in practice, but there is none in theory, or if there are any such cases in theory they will be removed as soon as we are able to identify them.

Requirement (e) reads: to ensure observance of the policy In the activities of vocational guidance, vocational training and placement services under the direction of a national authority.

The Government will ensure that the national policy is observed by the vocational guidance, vocational training and placement services under its direction. In the vocational training field I am advised that present practices are in accordance with the convention's recommendations. My Department is examining existing arrangements with a view to ensuring that all categories of persona have equal access to vocational guidance and receive equal treatment in this area. Particular attention is being given to Aborigines and to women in this regard. In the operations of the Commonwealth Employment Service, what is involved is drawing up guide lines to eliminate the discriminatory practices associated with notifying and filling job vacancies; for example, where employers specify that only men should be referred to fill vacancies which could be filled by women, or specify that they do not want Aborigines.

Initially it is intended that the CES should not refuse to accept discriminatory notifications of vacancies or to deal with employers who adopt discriminatory attitudes towards persons referred to them for employment. This sort of stringent approach could work only where the Government employment agency had a monopoly of placement services and even then may simply result in discriminatory 'gate' engagements. However, the CES itself will operate in a completely nondiscriminatory way. The Government has control over the CES and it will exercise that control to ensure and to guarantee that there is no discrimination at the level of the Commonwealth Employment Service. For example, if a discriminatory notification of vacancy is received the CES will refer those who are considered to be the most suitable applicants irrespective of the discriminatory specification. In addition, the possibility of making eligibility for contracts involving the expenditure of public funds dependent on observance of the principles is being examined. Requirement (f) reads: to indicate in ite annual reports on the application of the convention the action taken in pursuance of the policy and the results secured by such action.

In accordance with the obligations it accepts on ratifying the convention, the Government will ensure that this is done.

Committees on Discrimination in Employment

The Government will establish machinery at the national and State levels to deal with allegations of discrimination in employment and occupation. The National Committee on Discrimination in Employment will be organised on a tripartite basis and comprise an independent chairman and other representatives appointed by the Government plus one representative of employers and one of the trade unions. I have already asked the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Associated Chambers of Manufactures and the Australian Council of Employers' Federations jointly on the employer side to nominate their representatives. I have the name of the ACTU nominee and before the week is out 1 hope to be in a position to give the names of all of the members of the national committee. The House will be pleased to learn that the Chairman of the Committee will be an outstanding Australian - a very great Australian who is widely respected and whose appoint ment will be endorsed by both sides of the Parliament when it is announced. I cannot announce his name just yet, but it is a name which will attract the unanimous support of the Parliament when it is announced.

The Committee will be assisted in its operations by a panel of expert consultants, including academics, and people drawn from Government agencies, women's groups, Aboriginal groups and religious denominations and bodies. The pleasing thing I am able to say is that the Government is going to set the first example by cutting through all forms of discrimination that are based upon a person's politics, religion, sex, race or nationality. When I announce the membership of the various committees the House will recognise that the Government is practising what it preaches because the people who have been chosen to sit on the various committees will be people of outstanding competence and ability whose politics, religion, race or nationality will be outside the popular ones. They will be appointed because this Convention gives effect to a policy of no discrimination on the grounds of politics, race, religion, nationality or sex.

The main functions of the Committee will be to consider allegations of discrimination in employment referred to it by State committees, to interpret the requirements of the national policy, to promote equality of opportunity in employment and to advise the Government on the necessary action to ensure full compliance with the policy. Other functions will be to co-ordinate the national education campaign to which I have already made reference, which is designed to promote equality of opportunity in employment, and to undertake studies, possibly involving the panel of expert consultants, on various topics in this field. The Committee will publish regular reports on cases it considers, and provide an annual report on its activities in which it will assess progress in implementing the policy and make recommendations to ensure the effective application of the policy. I shall table those reports in the Parliament. The Parliament will have the opportunity, if it so desires, of debating the reports tabled each year. So honourable members from both sides of the Parliament will be able to become involved in this laudable objective of removing completely from this part of the globe discrimination in employment.

As I have already mentioned, the National Committee will be" asked to advise the Government on forms of discrimination not covered by the ILO Convention itself - for example, discrimination on the ground of age, which is considered to require action in Australia. There is a lot of this going on in Australia today - far too much. Too often one sees advertisements in newspapers of vacancies which stipulate that no one above 45 years of age should apply or that applicants must be between 25 and 35 years of age. Too much of this goes on in Australia today. We are determined to see that it is eliminated. Sometimes the elimination of it will require retraining, perhaps relocation and some vocational guidance, but we are determined to ensure that whatever is needed to be done is done to put an end to the idea that at 45 years of age a man is dead from an employment point of view.

The ILO convention is concerned with specific grounds of discrimination in employment, but it makes provision for extension after consultation with representative employer and worker organisations and with other appropriate bodies, into other areas where abolition of discrimination might be pursued, for example, discrimination in employment on the ground of age. The Government therefore proposes that it will be open to the Committee machinery to receive and investigate cases alleging discrimination in employment on grounds beyond those listed in the convention. The Government is not content just to eliminate discrimination on those grounds specifically referred to in the convention. We are determined to go beyond the requirements of the convention, to move into areas of discrimination not mentioned by the convention at all - al] areas of discrimination no matter upon what ground the discrimination is based. The National Committee will then be in a position to advise the Government on other forms of discrimination in employment and occupation considered to require action in Australia.

One important result of the operation of the National Committee will be that for the very first time it will be possible to make an informed estimate about the extent to which discrimination in employment and occupation exists in Australia. Whether this objective is achieved will depend on whether people bring examples of discrimination in employment and occupation to the Committee's attention. I hope that anyone having a genuine grievance will not hesitate to tell the Committee. The State committees will be organised on a tripartite basis with an independent chairman, 2 government representatives, and one trade union and one employer representative. One of the 2 government representatives will be nominated by the State government concerned and the other will be nominated by the Australian Government. The main function of the State committees will be to consider allegations of breaches of the national policy relating to discrimination in employment and occupation.

Operation

It is envisaged that allegations, however they are raised - including approaches direct to a Minister for Labour, by representations from a Federal or State parliamentarian, or by complaints to government departments or the committees - will be investigated initially by the secretariat to be established to service the Committees on Discrimination in Employment. Of course, this secretariat will be located in my department. Where a complainant has recourse to other forms of redress - for example, through proceedings before a court or an industrial tribunal, or to existing appeals machinery - he or she will be advised of the available avenues and the complaint will ordinarily not be pursued if these avenues have not been exhausted.

I remind the Parliament that until quite recently there was at least one example of a trade union rule discriminating against a person on the ground of race. A person of Asian extraction had no right to join the union unless he got special permission from the union's federal executive. I am pleased to say that as a consequence of this matter being brought to the attention of the union concerned by officers of my Department, this rule has since been eliminated from the rule book.


Mr Hayden - Surely it would have been only a small union that would have done that.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Actually, it was a fairly large union.


Mr Hayden - A national one?


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Yes, it was a large national union. There may be other unions like it; I do not know. But that is a matter that we will examine. I have already had a talk with Mr McKenzie about this. We will ask that there be an examination of union rules to ensure that where there is any relic of this discrimination against a person belonging to a union on the ground of race, the matter is brought to the notice of the union concerned. The union will then be given an opportunity to amend its rules to make them comply with the convention to which I am now referring. If complaints cannot be dealt with in the ways that I have mentioned, the investigation officers of the secretariat will seek information from the parties concerned. In cases of discrimination covered by the convention, they would then attempt to resolve the matter using their good offices. There will be no attempt to prosecute or to bludgeon the persons who commit the offences into submission; they will simply have pointed out to them the enormity of the thing and how unjust it is for a system like this or for such a thing to be permitted in this day and age in this country.

Where this intervention does not produce a solution, the. matter will be referred to the State Committee which will operate in whatever manner it considers most appropriate to resolve the matter in accordance with the declared policy. Where a matter cannot be resolved in this way by the State Committee, the State Committee will be free to send the matter to the. National Committee. It will be mandatory to do so where the case involves questions of principle and matters involving interpretation of the requirements of the policy. It is envisaged that reports of complaints considered by the State Committees will also be published in the annual report so that the world at large can see who in Australia is disregarding this important human rights convention.

General Comment

Australian society is an egalitarian society. If it is not perfect in this regard the least we can do is to remove impediments to the full realisation of each person's abilities according to his or her desire. In declaring this policy I believe that I am reflecting the attitudes of the overwhelming majority of Australian people. I am sure that members on both sides of the Parliament will support this policy and that they will support the action which the Government has taken to pursue this policy.

I thank the House for giving me leave to make this statement and I thank honourable members on both sides for the attentive hearing which I have received from them. I sin cerely hope that when next year's annual report is presented in the Parliament there will be an opportunity to debate its contents, and that from then on every year the Parliament will take a real, lively and continuing interest in seeing that this convention is in fact honoured and carried out.

INTERNATIONAL LABOUR CONFERENCE

Convention 111

CONVENTION CONCERNING DISCRIMINATION IN RESPECT OF EMPLOYMENT AND OCCUPATION

The General Conference of the International Labour Organisation,

Having been convened at Geneva by the Governing Body of the International Labour Office, and having met in its Forty-second Session on 4 June 1958, and

Having decided upon the adoption of certain proposals with regard to discrimination in the field of employment and occupation, which is the fourth item on the agenda of the session, and

Having determined that these proposals shall take the form of an international Convention, and

Considering that the Declaration of Philadelphia affirms that all human beings, irrespective of race, creed or sex, have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity, and

Considering further that discrimination constitutes a violation of rights enunciated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopts this twenty-fifth day of June of the year one thousand nine hundred and fifty-eight the following Convention, which may be cited as the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958:

Article 1

1.   For the purpose of this Convention the term discrimination' includes -

(a)   any distinction, exclusion or preference made on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin, which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment in employment or occupation;

(b)   such other distinction, exclusion or preference which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment in employment or occupation as may be determined by the Member concerned after consultation with representative employers' and workers' organisations, where such exist, and with other appropriate bodies.

2.   Any distinction, exclusion or preference in respect of a particular job based on the inherent requirements thereof shall not be deemed to be discrimination.

3.   For the purpose of this Convention the terms employment' and 'occupation' include access to vocational training, access to employment and to particular occupations, and terms and conditions of employment.

Article2

Each Member for which this Convention is in force undertakes to declare and pursue a national policy designed to promote, by methods appropriate to national conditions and practice, equality of opportunity and treatment in respect of employment and occupation, with a view to eliminating any discrimination in respect thereof.

Article 3

Each Member for which this Convention is in force undertakes, by methods appropriate to national conditions and practice -

(a)   to seek the co-operation of employers' and workers' organisations and other appropriate bodies in promoting the acceptance and observance of this policy;

(b)   to enact such legislation and to promote such educational programs as may be calculated to secure the acceptance and observance of the policy;

(c)   to repeal any statutory provisions and modify any administrative instructions or practices which are inconsistent with the policy;

(d)   to pursue the policy in respect of employment under the direct control of a national authority;

(e)   to ensure observance of the policy in the activities of vocational guidance, vocational training and placement services under the direction of a national authority;

(f)   to indicatein its annual reports on the application of the Convention the action taken in pursuance ofthe policy and the results secured by such action.

Article 4

Any measures affecting an individual whois justifiably suspected of, or engaged in, activities prejudicial to the security of the individual concerned shall have the right to appeal to a competent body established in accordance with national practice.

Article 5

1.   Special measures of protection or assistance provided forin other Conventions or Recommendations adopted by the International Labour Conference shall not be deemed to be discrimination.

2.   Any Member may, after consultation with representative employers' and workers' organisations, where such exist, determine that other special measures designed to meet the particular requirements of persons who, for reasons such as sex, age, disablement, family responsibilities or social or cultural status, are generally recognised to require special protection of assistance, shall not be deemed to be discrimination.

Article 6

Each Member which ratifies this Convention undertakes to aply it to non-metropolitan territories in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation.

Article 7

The formal ratifications of this Convention shall be communicated to the Director-General of the International Labour Office for registration.

Article 8

1.   This Convention shall be binding only upon those Members of the International Labour Organisation whose ratifications have been registered with the Director-General.

2.   It shall come into force twelve months after the date on which the ratifications of two Members have been registered with the Director-General.

3.   Thereafter, this Convention shall come into force for any Member twelve months after the date on which its ratification has been registered.

Article 9

1.   A Member which has ratified this Convention may denounce it after the expiration of ten years from the date on which the Convention first comes into force, by an act communicated to the DirectorGeneral of the International Labour Office for registration. Such denunciation shall not take effect until one year after the date on which it is registered.

2.   Each Member which has ratified this Convention and which does not, within the year following the expiration of the period of ten years mentioned in the preceding paragraph, exercise the right of denunciation provided for in this Article, will be bound for another period of ten years and, thereafter may denounce this Convention at the expiration of each period of ten years under the terms provided for in this Article.

Article 10

1.   The Director-General of the International Labour Office shall notify all Members of the International Labour Organisation of the registration of all ratifications and denunciations communicated to him by the Members of the Organisation.

2.   When notifying the Members of the Organisation of the registration of the second ratification communicated to him, the Director-General shall draw the attention of the Members of the Organisation to the date upon which the Convention will come into force.

Article11

The Director-General of the International Labour Office shall communicate to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for registration in accordance with article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations full particulars of all ratifications and acts of denunciation registered by him in accordance with the provisions of the preceding Articles.

Article 12

At such times as it may consider necessary the Governing Body of the International Labour Office shall present to the General Conference a report on the working of this Convention and shall examine the desirability of placing on the agenda of the Conference the question of its revision in whole or in part.

Article13

1.   Shoud the Conference adopt a new Convention revising this Convention in whole or in part, then, unless the new Convention otherwise provides-

(a)   the ratification by a Member of the new revising Convention shall ipso jure involve the immediate denunciation of this Convention, not withstanding the provisions of Article9 above, if and when the new revising Convention shall have come into force;

(b)   as from the date when the new revising Convention comes into force this Convention shall cease to be open to ratification by the Members.

2.   This Convention shall in any case remain in force in its actual form and content for those Members which have ratified it but have not ratified the revising Convention.

Article 14

The English and French versions of the text of this Convention are equally authoritative.

I present the following paper:

Discrimination in Employment and Occupation - Ministerial Statement, 22 May 1973.

Motion (by Mr Daly) proposed -

That the House take note of the paper.

Debate (on motion by Mr King) adjourned.







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