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Australian Human Rights Commission

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The Australian Human Rights Commission investigates and resolves complaints of discrimination and breaches of human rights. You can make a complaint no matter where you live in Australia. Their service is free, impartial and informal.

The Commission’s major functions and powers include:

  • investigating and conciliating complaints of discrimination or breaches of human rights
  • holding public inquiries into human rights issues of national importance and making recommendations to address discrimination and breaches of human rights
  • developing human rights education programs and resources for schools, workplaces and the community
  • providing independent legal advice to assist courts in cases that involve human rights principles
  • providing advice and submissons to parliaments and governments to develop laws, policies and programs consistent with existing national laws and international human rights agreements
  • undertaking and coordinating research into human rights and discrimination issues.

The Australian Human Rights Commission can investigate and resolve complaints of discrimination, harassment and bullying based on a person’s:

  • sex, including pregnancy, marital or relationship status (including same-sex de facto couples) status, breastfeeding, family responsibilities, sexual harassment, gender identity,  intersex status and sexual orientation
  • disability, including temporary and permanent disabilities; physical, intellectual, sensory, psychiatric disabilities, diseases or illnesses; medical conditions; work related injuries; past, present and future disabilities; and association with a person with a disability
  • race, including colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, immigrant status and racial hatred
  • age, covering young people and older people
  • sexual preference, criminal record, trade union activity, political opinion, religion or social origin (in employment only)

It is against the law to be discriminated against in many areas of public life, including employment, education, the provision of goods, services and facilities, accommodation, sport and the administration of Commonwealth laws and services.

The Commission can also investigate and resolve complaints about alleged breaches of human rights against the Commonwealth and its agencies.