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LIV President's Blog
February 17, 2011

Protection from discrimination and Review of the Charter of Human Rights

The LIV would be very concerned if the Coalition government removed the additional powers of the VEOHRC to initiate investigations into systemic discrimination. This is a measure that was introduced into the new Act, which is due to come into effect in August this year to promote a positive duty on employers to achieve equality and eliminate discrimination in their workplaces. We strongly supported this measure in our submission on the Equal Opportunity Bill 2010.
 
We would also be very concerned if the Coalition Government proposed to make the exception under the new Equal Opportunity Act for religious bodies any broader. Under the new Act, religious bodies can legally discriminate where the action conforms with the doctrines of the religion or is reasonably necessary to avoid injury to the religious sensitivities of the people in the religion. Religious bodies can also discriminate in employment where conformity with a given religion is an ‘inherent requirement’ of the position.
 
This week we also hosted the first meeting of the steering committee for the Charter Survey Project. With funding from the Victoria Law Foundation, the LIV is conducting a significant research project to assess the impact of the Charter on legal practice in Victoria. The project aims to assess the knowledge and use of the Charter by legal practitioners and identify how the Charter is being used in decision and policy making. The project will include a survey of lawyers; interviews with a sample group of lawyers and result in a report on how the Charter has affected legal practice. The results should be published by the end of July 2011. You can contact Alice Palmer for more information.

The LIV is also interested in what you have to say, what are your concerns regarding this issue?
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