Equal Time News September 2013




A committed community member - Tribute to John Walford (sorry business)

With the permission of his family, the Anti-Discrimination Board would like to pay tribute to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee member John Walford, who passed away recently.

 John lived in Collarenabri and represented his own community and the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community for 16 years. During this time he gave advice on many issues, including what role the Board should play in addressing discrimination, how we can improve community knowledge about their rights and responsibilities, and how to make it easier for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to use our services.

 John was a highly respected member of the committee who believed in the value of its meetings, and his energy and commitment will be sorely missed. He was diligent in keeping the Board informed about issues in the community and in keeping people informed, to the point where he took the Board’s material with him to distribute wherever he went.

 His contribution to committee meetings was always laced with humour. His view was always balanced, he liked to put things right the best way he could and lead by his actions, he was a great mentor and he never expected to get anything back for his contribution.

 John was also more than happy to contribute to other organisations in his community where assistance was needed. Nothing was ever too much to ask of him, and he was always ready to lend a hand with a smile on his face every time.

 A lot of good memories and friendships were built over the 16 years John was involved with the Board. He will be forever in our memories and we will hold dear his wisdom, knowledge and humour in working to create a more equal world for everyone in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Amendment to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)

All the definitions of discrimination in the Act were amended in 2013 to clarify that for indirect discrimination, the motive or reason for the discriminatory conduct is irrelevant.

Indirect discrimination occurs when there is a requirement or rule that is the same for everyone, but in effect it disadvantages people from a particular group more than people from other groups - unless the requirement is reasonable in the circumstances.

For example, if an employer says that people must be over 180cm tall to do a particular job, and the job could easily be rearranged so that a person of any height could do it, this may be indirect discrimination against women as on average they are shorter than men.

In the case of direct discrimination, the perpetrator must treat the person less favourably because of the relevant characteristic.   The discriminatory reason doesn't have to be the sole reason for the perpetrator's behaviour, or the primary one.  For example, if someone doesn't hire a woman because they think women can’t do that particular job, that is direct sex discrimination

However the amendment makes it clear that in the case of indirect discrimination, the perpetrator may not   necessarily intend to discriminate on the ground of the relevant characteristic for unlawful discrimination to occur.

More about the types of discrimination that are unlawful in NSW….