While the public health emergency can be a confusing and distressing time for many of us, one thing we can all agree on is that Canberra is a community that strives to be inclusive, progressive and equal. The best way that we can get through this pandemic is to remain a community that cares about one another. Racism, discrimination and vilification in any form is simply unacceptable.
The ACT community is protected from discrimination and vilification by the ACT Discrimination Act. Discrimination happens when someone is treated unfairly based on that person’s race, colour, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation or any of the other characteristics mentioned in the Act. Discrimination also occurs where a person cannot meet a requirement or condition because of their protected attribute. For example, if a person cannot work full time because they have carer responsibilities, and require flexible work arrangements; if someone does not have equal access to buildings or facilities to enable wheelchair access; a requirement for a person to have a fixed address to access services; or for a person to access services by telephone or internet if their disability prevents the use of those mechanisms.
Vilification is behaviour which might cause other people to hate, have contempt for or ridicule a person or group of people.
In the ACT it is against the law for someone to discriminate against you because of a characteristic that you have, or that someone thinks you have, in an area of public life such as employment, education, provision of goods and services and accommodation. This includes your race, national origin, colour, immigrant status, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity.
It is also against the law for someone to sexually harass you.
Vilification on the grounds of race, national origin or ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, religion is also against the law in the ACT. Vilification is unlawful when it occurs in public areas such as a workplace, on public transport, in retail centres, and in public spaces such as walking down the street, or in your neighbourhood. Vilification is also against the law when it occurs online, or takes the form of signs or posters in public areas.
If you experience discrimination or vilification or have any questions you can contact the ACT Human Rights Commission on (02) 6205 2222 or by email. You can access information on www.hrc.act.gov.au or use the online complaint form on the Human Rights Commission website.
For information on your rights in either Arabic, Chinese simplified & Chinese traditional, Dinka, Dari, Farsi, Spanish, or Vietnamese, read the Promoting and protecting your rights brochure.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples hold distinct cultural rights, which are recognised under the ACT Human Rights Act. Information on cultural rights, including information in Ngunnawal/Walgalu is available on the Human Rights Commission website.