From 1 August 2013 it will be unlawful under federal law to discriminate against a person on the grounds of their:
- sexual orientation
- gender identity
- intersex status
Same-sex couples are now also protected from discrimination under the new definition of ‘marital or relationship status’ (this was previously ‘marital status’).
The Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Act 2013 (Cth) (SDA Amendment Act) inserts the new grounds into the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (SDA).
Most states and territories have some form of protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. However, the SDA Amendment Act introduces more inclusive definitions and addresses gaps such as a lack of coverage for acts or practices of the federal government. It also qualifies the exemptions for religious organisations to the effect that it does not apply to conduct connected with the provision of Commonwealth-funded aged care services. It also includes the new ground of intersex status which is not covered by any other law.
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The steps to a new law (including changing an existing law);
- The new law is written by the government, known as the draft legislation or draft bill.
- The government releases the draft legislation for comment and feedback. Based on the feedback the government may alter the draft legislation.
- The draft legislation is presented to the lower house of parliament and read through three times. In the second reading, the lower house members debate the bill and can vote to make changes or amendments to the bill. After a third reading the lower house then votes to accept or reject the bill.
- Once the lower house of parliament votes to accept the bill, it then goes to the upper house and the bill follows the same process there. As in the lower house, the upper house can vote to make amendments to the bill. The upper house then votes to accept or reject the bill.
- When the upper house has accepted the bill it goes back to the lower house. If the lower house votes to accept the bill it then goes to the state governor to be signed (into law). It is at this point that the bill becomes an act of parliament and is the new law. Some acts of parliament or parts of the act may not come in to effect immediately but it will be written into the act when it or parts of it come into effect.
In 2007 and 2008 the Law and Sexual Health (LASH) study surveyed sex workers in commercial sex work businesses In Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
Three capital cities were chosen for their different legal climates: Melbourne, where sex work is only decriminalised in licensed brothels (licensing), otherwise it remains illegal; Perth, where sex work remains criminalised; and Sydney, where most form of adult sex work are decriminalised, without licensing.
Through legal research we determined the laws and the level of policing of those laws in Victoria, WA, and NSW. We also mapped the female brothel-based sex industry in each city. Brothels were chosen at random, with a survey target of 200 sex workers in each city. Each brothel was repeated approached until every sex worker consented to participate or refused. Each participating sex worker completed a questionnaire that was available in 4 languages. Those women were then offered testing for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, Mycoplasma genitalium infection, and trichomoniasis. Comparisons were made between cities.
Go to LASH Project