I am deeply concerned about some elements of change proposed for embodiment within the Anti-Discrimination Amendment Act 2022. Amendments to the bill are deemed necessary to overcome perceived elements of discrimination , therefore ensuring equality of opportunity for those who may have been unfairly treated in the past.
My concerns are two-fold. The status and entitlement of faith based schools is under some threat, because legislated stipulations on the employment of staff could impact on the tenets and ethos of these schools. The second concern is the potential of proposed change to require people to be ultra cautious, treading carefully in all speaking environments. I worry for myself and others that scrutiny of speech could lead to allegations of grievance in all environments from formal speech to expressing an overheard opinion. That a grievance is legitimate if someone says something a listener may feel could offend some third person somewhere, is trivialisation to the point of nonsense.
Negative implications and unintended consequences can arise when consultation with all parties and consideration of all viewpoints on key issues of proposed changes to legislation do not take place. It’s also important following initial consultation, that if amendments are then made to proposed legislation (where those amendments haven’t been consulted) they don’t go ahead until secondary consultation takes place.
The first round of consultation met community expectations. It is the ‘hidden’ aspects of proposed bill amendments that no-one knew were coming which have created massive angst and community disquiet.
The bill in its present form, should be stood over for further consultation before debate.