Friday 28 October 2016

28 October 2016


Welcome to the Australian Human Rights Commission e-bulletin. Published fortnightly, this e-bulletin keeps you up-to-date with our programs, projects and news.

In this e-bulletin

18C and 18D explained

Soccer game with boys of diverse backgrounds.

The debate over the Racial Discrimination Act has focused attention on how the Act operates, specifically sections 18C and 18D. 

Section 18C of the RDA makes it unlawful to 'offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate' someone because of their race or ethnicity.

Exemptions under section 18D of the RDA ensure that artistic works, scientific and academic inquiry, and fair comment on matters of public interest are exempt from section 18C, provided they are done reasonably and in good faith.

The vast majority of claims under section 18C are either conciliated through the Commission, or are withdrawn or dismissed. Many cases end with a simple apology.

> Read more


Awards tickets on sale

As we draw closer to the end of the year, the Commission is once again preparing to celebrate the many individuals and organisations that dedicate themselves to advancing human rights and freedoms in Australia.

This year’s Human Rights Awards ceremony will be a special one as we also celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Commission.

Dame Quentin Bryce, former Governor-General and Sex Discrimination Commissioner, will deliver the keynote address paying special tribute to 30 years of human rights in Australia.

ARIA-award winning Indigenous singer and song writer Archie Roach will be performing at the event.

Buy your ticket today:


Megan Mitchell calls for youth detention overhaul

Screenshot of Megan Mitchell from the Royal Commission in NT detention broadcast

National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell has appeared before the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory as its first witness.

Commissioner Mitchell called for a major overhaul in youth detention across the country, highlighting the obligations that Australia has under a range of international treaties prohibiting the use of force, restraints, and strip searches on children in detention.

Commissioner Mitchell also told the Royal Commission about her experience visiting the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre to talk with children and young people about their rights and responsibilities in detention.

“I have to say that in comparison to other youth justice facilities across Australia, Don Dale is coming from a particularly low starting point,” said Commissioner Mitchell.

> Read more


Federal Discrimination Law launched

Commission President Professor Gillian Triggs

The Commission, in partnership with LexisNexis, recently launched the 2016 edition of Federal Discrimination Law.

Federal Discrimination Law provides an overview of the federal discrimination laws and examines the significant issues that have arisen in federal unlawful discrimination cases.

Since 2011 when the publication was last updated important new protections have been introduced against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.

Same sex couples are now also protected from discrimination under the definition of ‘marital or relationship status’.

> Read more


Intersex rights are human rights

Purple flower with text ' '

The Commission expressed its support for Intersex Australians on Intersex Awareness Day, 26 October 2016.

“We reaffirm our commitment to protecting and promoting the human rights of people with intersex variations,” said Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow.

“Intersex Awareness Day highlights the human rights issues faced by intersex people,” Commissioner Santow said.

“People with intersex variations can face a range of human rights issues, as well as discrimination and social stigma in schools, workplaces and other settings because they may not conform with sex and gender expectations.

> Read more

Recent media releases

Recent submissions

Recent speeches


 Internship applications close Friday 28 Oct 2016

Get involved - upcoming events

For the latest media releases, speeches, opinion pieces, go to the media centre on the Commission’s website at: and for events go to .