Section 44 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) ("the Act") gives the Commission the power to grant temporary exemptions from certain provisions of the Act.Temporary exemptions may be granted for up to five years at a time and may be granted subject to specified terms and conditions. The effect of a temporary exemption is that discrimination covered by the exemption is not unlawful under the Act while the exemption remains in force.Because the Act already provides for both permanent exemptions (Division 4 Part II of the Act - ss 30-43) and special measures (s 7D) and because any temporary exemption must be consistent with the objects of the Act the circumstances in which it will be necessary or appropriate to grant such exemptions will be limited.
The Act does not set out in any detail the criteria or procedures that the Commission should use in considering applications for temporary exemption. Section 44 of the Act simply provides the Commission with a discretion to grant such exemptions.
Because of the importance of the power to grant exemptions, and its potential impact on rights and obligations under the Act, the Commission has developed criteria and procedures to guide the Commission in exercising this discretion. By publishing these criteria and procedures, the Commission also aims to assist interested parties in having an effective say in decisions about possible exemptions that may affect their interests.
Click on the following links for further information:
- Guidelines for Exemption applications under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984
- 1996 Guidelines for Special Measures under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984
Register of Temporary exemptions granted under the SDA
COMMISSION NOTICES ON APPLICATIONS FOR TEMPORARY EXEMPTIONS
- Temporary Exemption Application: Rice Warner Actuaries
- Temporary Exemption Application: Auto & General Insurance Company Limited, A & G Insurance Services Limited, Australian Insurance Holdings Pty Ltd Word or PDF
- Decision to decline to grant a temporary exemption sought by The Deli Women & Children's Centre Inc Word or PDF
- Decision to grant a temporary exemption sought by Ballarat Health and Fitness Pty Ltd for a male only gym in Ballarat and decision to decline to grant a request for exemption to employ men only (expires 6 November 2010)
- Decision to grant a temporary exemption sought by the Australian Burea of Statistics (expired)
- Decision to decline to grant a temporary exemption sought by Lourdes Hill College
- Decision to decline to grant a temporary exemption sought by Annetco Inc (formerly WiN Support Services Pty)
- Decision to grant a temporary exemption sought by the Catholic Education Office after new application offers equal number of male and female scholarships (expired)
- Decision to decline to grant an exemption sought by the Catholic Education Office Scholarships for Male Trainee Teachers
- Decision to grant a temporary exemption sought by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs ("DIMIA") (expired)
- Decision to grant a temporary exemption sought by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (expired)
- Decision to grant a temporary exemption sought by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs ("DIMIA") for extension of Woomera residential housing project exemption (expired)
- Decision to grant interim exemption sought by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs ("DIMIA") for extension of Woomera residential housing project exemption
- Decision to grant temporary exemption sought by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs ("DIMIA") for exemption to allow alternative detention arrangements for female detainees and male detainees up to the age of 12 at the Woomera Immigration Reception and Processing Centre (expired)
grants temporary exemption to CEO after new application offers equal
number of male and female scholarships
19 March 2004
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission today granted the Catholic Education Office (CEO) a temporary exemption from the operation of certain provisions of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) to offer 24 new scholarships for male and female student teachers in each of the next five academic years. This follows the consideration of a new application from CEO.
The Commission granted the exemption after examining the new application which proposes to award 24 scholarships each year to university students studying to be primary school teachers: - 12 reserved for men and 12 for women.
The CEO had made an earlier application for a temporary exemption to allow male only scholarships which the Commission rejected. That decision was being reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The CEO has now discontinued its application for review.
President of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, John von Doussa QC, said that the Commission is satisfied on balance that it is reasonable to grant this temporary exemption in light of its significantly revised form and different terms provided by the Catholic Education Office.
"Significantly, the CEO responded to the Commission's reference in its first decision to the recommendations of the House of Representatives Standing Committee 2002 Report. The report recommended that teaching scholarships be offered to men and women in equal numbers, in order to encourage more men into primary school teaching," said Mr von Doussa.
Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward said that there are any number of programs that can be introduced in conjunction with this scholarship scheme to encourage more men into primary teaching - programs that are not discriminatory under the Sex Discrimination Act.
"I am pleased that the Catholic Education Office recognises that this scholarship scheme alone will not attract more men into teaching. We need to focus on offering better conditions to teachers across the board, as well as promoting teaching as an attractive profession for men. We need to properly value this important profession," said Ms Goward.
Click on the links below to access:
- Notice of Grant of Temporary Exemption pursuant to s 44(1) of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth)
Education Office's Application for Temporary Exemption
(PDF format. 458K)
to decline to grant an exemption sought under section 44 of the Sex Discrimination
Act: Catholic Education Office Scholarships for Male Trainee Teachers
3 March 2003
The Catholic Education Office, Archdiocese of Sydney ("CEO"), applied on 30 August 2002 to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (the "Commission") for a temporary exemption under section 44 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth). The exemption sought related to a proposal by the CEO to offer scholarships for male high school students to undertake study to become primary school teachers. A supplementary application was made on 16 October 2002.
The Commission considered that this was an issue on which public submissions would assist in ensuring a sound decision on the application for a temporary exemption. The notice of inquiry is attached. The Commission received eleven submissions in response to that notice of inquiry.
On 27 February 2003, the Commission issued a notice of decision, in which it declined to grant the exemption sought by the CEO. The Commission's notice of decision and a summary of that notice are attached.
Click on the links below to access:
You can also access the:
- Notice of inquiry
- Application from the Catholic Education Office, Archdiocese of Sydney, for a temporary exemption under section 44 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 ("SDA")
- Supplementary application made on 16 October 2002.
Notice of Grant of Temporary Exemption to the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs ("DIMIA") under the Sex Discrimination Act section 44
On 23 August 2003 DIMIA applied to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) for an extension of the temporary exemption that HREOC had previously granted to DIMIA under section 44 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 in relation to the Residential Housing Project conducted in Woomera, South Australia. DIMIA also applied for temporary exemptions for the new Residential Housing Projects at Port Augusta, South Australia and Port Hedland, WA.
On 19 September 2003 HREOC granted a two year temporary exemption to DIMIA whereby (i) female detainees and (ii) male detainees up to and including 17 years of age at any detention facility are eligible to participate in alternative detention arrangements, namely accommodation in the Residential Housing Projects at Woomera, Port Augusta and Port Hedland.
- Click here to access the Notice of grant of temporary exemption to the DIMIA under the Sex Discrimination Act.
Exemption under Disability Discrimination Act section 55 and Sex Discrimination Act 44: Civil Aviation medical standards
In response to an application from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission decided on 26 November to grant a temporary exemption under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 ("SDA"), section 44, and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 ("DDA"), section 55, for persons acting pursuant to existing Civil Aviation Regulations regarding medical fitness and proposed amendments to those regulations.
The exemptions commence on 26 November 2002 and expire on 26 November 2007.
The exemptions are to apply only where a person's pregnancy (for the purposes of the SDA) or disability (for the purposes of the DDA) prevents the person safely fulfilling the inherent requirements of the role covered by the licence concerned.
This decision means that the DDA and SDA will continue to provide a safety net against possible wrongful administration of the CASA regulation, or against the regulations being overly restrictive in some respect, while ensuring that correct decisions to refuse licences are not unlawful. That is, complaints will still be able to be made, but CASA and other bodies administering the regulations should be able to defend complaints successfully so long as they are acting properly in pursuing the public interest in air safety.
Last updated September 28, 2012