Law Reform - The Equal Opportunity Act

Victor Perton

Continued from Parliamentary Protection of Rights in Victoria

The Equal Opportunity Act

In 1993, The Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee was given the task of reviewing the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act 1984. The Committee produced an Interim Report in October 1993 and a Final Report in November 1993. Some of the Committee's recommendations in that Report included:

More controversially, the Committee recommended the restructure of the office of the Equal Opportunity Commission. This was designed to establish a better management structure and a more publicly accountable structure. This was implemented by legislation in 1993. My view is that the restructure was appropriate. The new commission is well led and well-staffed. The Federal Government has demonstrated its confidence by continuing and extending its delegations under federal anti-discrimination law.

The Government enacted the Equal Opportunity Act 1995. This Act adopts many of the Committee's recommendations. The Act prohibits discrimination which is based on various attributes, including any of the following attributes: age, lawful sexual activity, pregnancy, and status of parent or carer. A recent journal article discusses the Committee's review of the earlier Act, and the subsequent adoption of many of the Committee's recommendations: ‘Equal Opportunity Act 1995' Litigation Lawyer (24) July 1995, 35 - 44.

The Subordinate Legislation Act

The Committee also reviewed the Subordinate Legislation Act 1962 and reported on it in November 1993. The Government has affirmed the Committee's role and work by introducing a new Subordinate Legislation Bill in November 1994. The new Act, which came into force on 1 January 1995, is based largely on the Committee's recommendation and draft Bill. The Government's positive response to the Committee's work augers well for the future.


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updated 13 May 1996
Victor Perton
victorp@vicnet.net.au