Discrimination · Additional Resources


Both the Federal and State Governments have had legislation in force protecting people against discrimination.

The relevant Commonwealth Law is found in the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986, Racial Discrimination Act 1975, Racial Discrimination Act Vilification 1975, Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

The State Law is entirely found in the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act 1991. People are protected from being discriminated against in relation to any attribute concerning their sex, relationship status, parental status, pregnancy, race, age, religion, political activity or belief, trade union activity, impairment, lawful sexual activity, family responsibilities, sexuality, gender identity or because they are associated with someone with these attributes. Discrimination is extended to any person advocating racial or religious hatred or hostility.

The Commonwealth laws are slightly wider extending discrimination to colour, national extraction, social origin, medical record, criminal record, disability or nationality.

Parties to Complaints

The complainant may be the person who is subjected to the contravening act or an authorised person or agent or an appropriate representative of a class of people.

The persons who may be made a respondent to the complaint will be the person who does the contravening act, which includes a corporation and it can extend to an employer who is vicariously liable for a contravention by an employee. It will also include a person who promotes or encourages the contravention.

Requirements for all Complaints

The complaint must be in writing and it must contain sufficient details. The time limit for filing a complaint is one year. Within 28 days of filing, the complaint will either be accepted or alternatively rejected if considered frivolous or vexatious or considered misconceived.


Discrimination can be direct or indirect. Direct discrimination happens if a person treats a person with a specified attribute (listed above) less favourably and the attribute is a substantial reason for the treatment.

Indirect discrimination occurs if a person imposes a term with which a person with an attribute does not or is not able to comply and that term is not reasonable.

Act - Activity

The Acts application is limited to certain areas of activity, ie:

Activity Exemptions

In each area of activity there can be a number of exceptions. Here are a few examples:-

General Exemptions

There are also some general exemptions. Here are a few:-