Complaint statistics - Annual Report 2009-2010: Australian Human Rights Commission

Complaint statistics 2010/2011

Complaint Information Service

Table 1: Website enquiries
Complaint Handling Section webpage views 326 516
Table 2: Telephone, TTY, Email, in-person and written enquiries received
Enquiry type Total
Telephone 14 479
TTY 13
Email 3 336
In-person 118
Written 724
Total 18 670
Table 3: Enquiries received by issue
Issue Total
Total* 23 521
Race 1 979
Race – racial hatred 619
Sex – direct 890
Sexual harassment 1 003
Sex – marital status, family responsibilities, parental status, carers responsibilities, breast feeding 368
Sex – pregnancy 510
Sexual preference, transgender, homosexuality, lawful sexual activity 218
Disability – impairment 2 628
Disability – HIV/AIDS/Hepatitis 48
Disability – workers compensation 164
Disability – mental health 581
Disability – intellectual/learning disability 293
Disability – maltreatment/negligence 30
Disability – physical feature 550
Age – too young 157
Age – too old 562
Age – compulsory retirement 5
Criminal record/conviction 364
Political opinion 17
Religion/religious organisations 213
Employment – personality conflicts/favouritism 143
Employment – union/industrial activity 60
Employment – unfair dismissal/other industrial issues 2 020
Employment – workplace bullying 1 564
Human rights – children 80
Human rights – civil, political, economic, social 772
Immigration – detention centres 491
Immigration – visas 334
Prisons/prisoners 202
Police 279
Court – family court 193
Court – other law matters 249
Privacy – data protection 44
Neighbourhood disputes 80
Advertising 23
Local government – administration 77
State government – administration 739
Federal government – administration 716
Other 4 256

* One enquiry may have multiple issues

Table 4: Enquiries received by State/Territory of origin
State of origin Total Percentage
Total 18 670 100
New South Wales 4 908 26
Victoria 2 731 15
South Australia 1 306 7
Western Australia 1 104 6
Queensland 2 384 13
Australian Capital Territory 326 2
Tasmania 212 1
Northern Territory 243 1
Unknown/overseas 5 456 29

Complaints overview

Table 5: Complaints received and finalised over the past five years
2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10
Received 1 779 2 077 2 253 2 517 2 152
Finalised 1 656 1 883 2 354 2 426 2 266
Table 6: Outcomes of complaints finalised over the past five years
2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10
Terminated/declined 48 39 34 32 35
Conciliated 38 48 48 50 47
Withdrawn 14 13 18 13 11
Discontinued* 5 6
Reported (AHRCA only) 1 1

* Complaints finalised under new statutory provision – 46 PF(5)(a) – Satisfied that complainant does not want inquiry to continue.

Table 7: Complaints received by State/Territory of complainant
State of origin Total Percentage
Total 2 152 100
New South Wales 827 38
Victoria 438 20
South Australia 150 7
Western Australia 191 9
Queensland 386 18
Australian Capital Territory 65 3
Tasmania 19 1
Northern Territory 41 2
Unknown/overseas 35 2
Table 8: Complaints received and finalised by Act
Act Received Finalised
Total 2 152 2 266
Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) 422 472
Sex Discrimination Act (SDA) 459 448
Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 823 961
Age Discrimination Act (ADA) 175 181
Australian Human Rights Commission Act (AHRCA) 273 204
Table 9: Complaints received by Act over the past five years
2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10
Total 1 779 2 077 2 253 2 517 2 152
Racial Discrimination Act 250 376 396 550 422
Sex Discrimination Act 472 438 547 532 459
Disability Discrimination Act 802 988 980 1 057 823
Age Discrimination Act 106 126 151 174 175
Australian Human Rights Commission Act 149 149 179 204 273
Table 10: Country of birth – complainants
RDA SDA DDA ADA AHRCA (%) Total
Born in Australia 47 55 61 59 35 55
Born outside of Australia 44 14 13 22 45 23
Unknown/unspecified 9 31 26 19 20 22
Table 11: Indigenous status – complainants
RDA SDA DDA ADA AHRCA Total
Aboriginal 34 2 2 1 2 9
Torres Strait Islander 1
None of the above 66 98 98 99 97 91
Table 12: Time from receipt to finalisation for finalised complaints
RDA SDA DDA ADA AHRCA Cumulative Total (%)
0–6 months 74 60 47 60 47 56
6–9 months 90 84 76 88 73 81
9–12 months 96 95 84 98 89.5 94
More than 12 months 100 100 100 100 100 100

Racial Discrimination Act

Table 13: Racial Discrimination Act – complaints received and finalised
Total
Received 422
Finalised 472
Table 14: Racial Discrimination Act – complaints received by ground
Racial Discrimination Act Total Percentage
Total* 826 100
Colour 74 9
National origin/extraction 41 5
Ethnic origin 102 12
Descent 9 1
Race 445 54
Victimisation 9 1
Racial hatred 121 15
Aids, permits or instructs - -
Association 2 -
Immigrant 23 3

* One complaint may have multiple grounds

Table 15: Racial Discrimination Act – complaints received by area
Racial Discrimination Act Total Percentage
Total* 826 100
Rights to equality before the law
Access to places and facilities 1 -
Land, housing, other accommodation 8 1
Provision of goods and services 227 27
Right to join trade unions
Employment 290 36
Advertisements
Education 7 1
Incitement to unlawful acts
Other – section 9 165 20
Racial hatred 128 16

*An area is recorded for each ground, so one complaint may have multiple and different areas.

Table 16: Racial hatred complaints received by sub-area
Racial Discrimination Act Total Percentage
Total 113 100
Media – press/TV/radio 19 17
Disputes between neighbours 6 5
Personal conflict 15 13
Employment 29 26
Racist propaganda 1 1
Internet – e-mail/webpage/chat room 26 23
Entertainment
Sport 2 2
Public debate
Provision of goods and services 10 9
Other 5 4
Table 17: Racial Discrimination Act – outcomes of finalised complaints
Racial Discrimination Act Total
Total 472
Terminated 158
At complainants request – s.46PE
Not unlawful
More than 12 months old 7
Trivial, vexatious, frivolous, misconceived, lacking in substance 23
Adequately dealt with already
More appropriate remedy available
Subject matter of public importance
No reasonable prospect of conciliation 128
Discontinued* 40
Withdrawn 43
Conciliated 208
Administrative closure** 23

* Finalised under new statutory provision – 46 PF(5)(a) – Satisfied that complainant does not want inquiry to continue.

** Not an aggrieved party, state complaint previously lodged.</>

Sex Discrimination Act

Table 18: Sex Discrimination Act – complaints received and finalised
Sex Discrimination Act Total
Received 459
Finalised 448
Table 19: Sex Discrimination Act – complaints received by sex of complainant
Sex Discrimination Act Total Percentages
Total 459 100
Female 378 82
Male 78 17
Other category* 3 1

* Includes intersex, sex not specified, joint/multiple and individual/organisation on behalf of other.

Table 20: Sex Discrimination Act – complaints received by ground
Sex Discrimination Act Total Percentages
Total* 874 100
Sex discrimination 324 37
Marital status 18 2
Pregnancy 165 19
Sexual harassment 265 30
Parental status/ family responsibility 43 5
Victimisation 50 6
Aids, permits, instructs 9 1

* One complaint may have multiple grounds.

Table 21: Sex Discrimination Act – complaints received by area
Sex Discrimination Act Total Percentage
Total* 874 100
Employment 770 88
Goods, services and facilities 72 8
Land
Accommodation 2 0.5
Superannuation, insurance
Education 10 1
Clubs
Administration of Commonwealth laws and programs 18 2
Application forms etc
Trade unions, accrediting bodies 2 0.5

* An area is recorded for each ground, so one complaint may have multiple and different areas.

Table 22: Sex Discrimination Act – outcomes of finalised complaints
Sex Discrimination Act Total
Total 448
Terminated 142
At complainants request – s.46PE
Not unlawful
More than 12 months old 10
Trivial, vexatious, frivolous, misconceived, lacking in substance 15
Adequately dealt with already
More appropriate remedy available 1
Subject matter of public importance
No reasonable prospect of conciliation 116
Discontinued* 38
Withdrawn 49
Conciliated 185
Administrative closure** 34

* Finalised under new statutory provision – 46 PF(5)(a) – Satisfied that complainant does not want inquiry to continue.

** Not an aggrieved party, state complaint previously lodged.

Disability Discrimination Act

Table 23: Disability Discrimination Act – complaints received and finalised
Disability Discrimination Act Total
Received 823
Finalised 961
Table 24: Nature of complainant’s disability
Disability Discrimination Act Total Percentage
Total* 1 097 100
Physical disability 172 16
A mobility aid is used (e.g. walking frame or wheelchair) 116 11
Physical disfigurement 21 2
Presence in the body of organisms causing disease (e.g. HIV/AIDS) 11 1
Presence in the body of organisms causing disease (other) 16 1
Psychiatric disability 160 15
Neurological disability (e.g. epilepsy) 68 6
Intellectual disability 45 4
Learning disability 27 3
Sensory disability (hearing impaired) 47 4
Sensory disability (deaf) 80 7
Sensory disability (vision impaired) 60 6
Sensory disability (blind) 15 1
Work-related injury 68 6
Medical condition (e.g. diabetes) 88 8
Other 103 9

* One complainant may have multiple disabilities.

Table 25: Disability Discrimination Act – complaints received by ground
Disability Discrimination Act Total Percentage
Total* 2 176 100
Disability of person(s) aggrieved 1 968 91
Associate 91 4
Disability – person assisted by trained animal 43 2
Disability – accompanied by assistant 7
Disability – use of appliance 16 1
Harassment 8
Victimisation 31 1
Aids, permits or instructs 12 1

* One complaint may have multiple grounds.

Table 26: Disability Discrimination Act – complaints received by area
Disability Discrimination Act Total Percentage
Total* 2 176 100
Employment 672 31
Goods, services and facilities 769 35
Access to premises 131 6
Land
Accommodation 60 3
Incitement to unlawful acts or offences
Advertisements
Superannuation, insurance 8
Education 188 9
Clubs, incorporated associations 38 2
Administration of Commonwealth laws and programs 67 3
Sport 2
Application forms, requests for information
Trade unions, registered organisations
Unlawful to contravene Disability Standard 241 11

* An area is recorded for each ground, so one complaint may have multiple and different areas.

Table 27: Disability Discrimination Act – outcomes of finalised complaints
Disability Discrimination Act Total
Total 961
Terminated 334
At complainants request – s.46PE
Not unlawful 5
More than 12 months old 14
Trivial, vexatious, frivolous, misconceived, lacking in substance 37
Adequately dealt with already 7
More appropriate remedy available 5
Subject matter of public importance
No reasonable prospect of conciliation 266
Discontinued* 35
Withdrawn 110
Conciliated 465
Administrative closure** 17

* Finalised under new statutory provision – 46 PF(5)(a) – Satisfied that complainant does not want inquiry to continue.

** Not an aggrieved party, state complaint previously

Age Discrimination Act

Table 28: Age Discrimination Act – complaints received and finalised
Age Discrimination Act Total
Received 175
Finalised 181
Table 29: Age Discrimination Act – age group of complainant
Age Discrimination Act Total Percentage
Total 175 100
 0 – 14 years 3 2
15 – 24 years 23 13
25 – 34 years 10 6
35 – 44 years 12 7
45 – 54 years 44 25
55 – 64 years 39 22
> 65 years 34 19
Unknown 10 6
Table 30: Age Discrimination Act – complaints received by area
Age Discrimination Act Total Percentage
Total* 297 100
Employment 195 66
Goods, services and facilities 79 26
Access to premises
Land
Accommodation 8 3
Incitement to unlawful acts or offences
Advertisements
Superannuation, insurance 4 1
Education 1
Clubs, incorporated associations
Administration of Commonwealth laws and programs 8 3
Sport
Application forms, requests for information
Trade unions, registered organisations 2 1

* One complaint may have multiple and different areas.

Table 31: Age Discrimination Act – outcomes of finalised complaints
Age Discrimination Act Total
Total 181
Terminated 55
At complainants request – s.46PE
Not unlawful 3
More than 12 months old 2
Trivial, vexatious, frivolous, misconceived, lacking in substance 9
Adequately dealt with already 1
More appropriate remedy available
Subject matter of public importance
No reasonable prospect of conciliation 40
Discontinued* 12
Withdrawn 29
Conciliated 78
Administrative closure** 7

* Finalised under new statutory provision – 46 PF(5)(a) – Satisfied that complainant does not want inquiry to continue.

** Not an aggrieved party, state complaint previously lodged

Australian Human Rights Commission Act

Table 32: AHRCA – complaints received and finalised
Australian Human Rights Commission Act Total
Received 273
Finalised 204
Table 33: AHRCA – complaints received by ground
Australian Human Rights Commission Act Total Percentage
Total* 302 100
Race (ILO 111)
Colour (ILO 111)
Sex (ILO 111)
Religion (ILO 111) 14 5
Political opinion (ILO 111) 3 1
National extraction (ILO 111) 1
Social origin (ILO 111) 1
Age (ILO 111) 1
Medical record (ILO 111)
Criminal record (ILO 111) 68 23
Impairment (including HIV/AIDS status) (ILO 111)
Marital status (ILO 111)
Disability (ILO 111)
Nationality (ILO 111)
Sexual preference (ILO 111) 17 6
Trade union activity (ILO 111) 12 4
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 153 51
Declaration on the Rights of the Child
Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons
Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons
Convention on the Rights of the Child 27 9
Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief 1
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 4 1
Not a ground within jurisdiction
Not a human right as defined by the Act

*One complaint may have multiple grounds.

Table 34: AHRCA – complaints received by area
Australian Human Rights Commission Act Total Percentage
Total* 302 100
Acts or practices of the Commonwealth 188 62
Employment 113 38
Not act or practice of the Commonwealth (not employment cases) 1

* An area is recorded for each ground, so one complaint may have multiple and different areas.

Table 35: AHRCA – non-employment complaints received by sub-area
Australian Human Rights Commission Act Total Percentage
Total 189 100
Prisons, prisoner 3 1.5
Religious institutions
Family court matters
Other law court matters 1 0.5
Immigration 172 91
Law enforcement agency
State agency 1 0.5
Other service provider (private sector)
Local government
Education systems
Welfare systems 1 0.5
Personal or neighbourhood conflict
Health system
Other 11 6
Table 36: AHRCA – Outcomes of finalised complaints
Australian Human Rights Commission Act Total
Total 204
Declined 102
Does not constitute discrimination 9
Human rights breach, not inconsistent or contrary to any human right 6
More than 12 months old 2
Trivial, vexatious, frivolous, misconceived, lacking in substance 37
Adequately dealt with already 11
More appropriate remedy available 5
Withdrawn, does not wish to pursue, advised the Commission 13
Withdrawn, does not wish to pursue, settled outside the Commission 1
Withdrawn or lost contact 18
Conciliated 82
Referred for reporting* 18
Administrative closure** 2

*Complaints in this category were not conciliable and therefore transferred from the Commission’s Complaint Handling Section to the Legal Section for further inquiry and possible reporting.

**Not an aggrieved party, state complaint previously lodged.