Changes to federal Discrimination Act

Key amendments proposed by the Government include:

  • Ensuring equal protection for men and women from sex discrimination
  • Establishing breastfeeding as a separate ground of sex discrimination
  • Extending protection from direct and indirect discrimination on the ground of family responsibilities to men and women in all areas of employment.
  • Broadening protection from sexual harassment to workers by customers, clients and other persons with whom they come into contact in connection with their employment
  • Providing a statutory guide to relevant circumstances for determining whether the broader sexual harassment test has been satisfied.
  • Increasing the time limit for lodging an application with the Federal Court or Federal Magistrate’s Court from 28 days to 60 days after termination of the complaint by the Australian Human Rights Commission.
  • Conferring on the Australian Human Rights Commission the function to intervene in cases involving discrimination on the ground of family responsibilities.


The Government intends to draft comprehensive Commonwealth anti-discrimation legislation for consultation with stakeholders and the general public.