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Sex Discrimination Bill Passes Parliament

Parliament House

With Labor’s leadership turmoil saturating media coverage, it was easy to miss some of the other goings-on in Canberra this week, such as the passage of the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill.

The Bill introduced new protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people into existing anti-discrimination laws.

The explanatory memorandum for the Bill says that it aims to “foster a more inclusive society by prohibiting unlawful discrimination against LGBTI people and promoting attitudinal change in Australia”.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC said the legislation would establish protection against discrimination in areas such as accommodation and healthcare for the first time at the Federal level.

Changes include outlawing discrimination against LGBTI people seeking access to commonwealth-funded aged-care homes, including those provided by religious groups.

“The vast majority of aged care service providers give dedicated and loving care to their residents no matter who they are, but it is important to ensure such discrimination cannot ever occur. Ageing gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people should not have to live in fear that they may be barred from essential care services,” Dreyfus said.

1 AUGUST 2013: The new protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status commenced today.

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