It’s time NT law catches up with the community
Rainbow Territory supports modernising Northern Territory laws, including the Anti-Discrimination Act 1992 (NT) to remove discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) Territorians.
“The last time the Anti-Discrimination Act was updated in relation to gender and sexuality was 2003. The Territory has changed and it’s time that legislation catches up with the community. Modernising the Anti-Discrimination Act is an election commitment of the Gunner government, and we are looking forward to seeing the law changed to more comprehensively protect LGBTQI Territorians from discrimination” says Rainbow Territory member Jane Black.
Rainbow Territory member Jane Black says “the changes we are calling for are important because they will help ensure Territorians do not experience discrimination or vilification on the basis of their sexuality, gender identity or intersex status. For example, right now in the NT, a teacher who is gay can be refused a job in a religious school because of their sexuality. This is outdated and does not reflect the NT that we live in”.
Rainbow Territory calls for changes to the law to ensure that people trying to access IVF would be protected by NT Anti-Discrimination legislation. They are currently afforded no protection. “Rainbow Territory is aware of people being denied access to IVF in Darwin because of their sexuality or same sex relationship. This is totally discriminatory and unacceptable” says Rainbow Territory member Jane Black.
Rainbow Territory is also campaigning to change other NT laws and policies. The Adoption of Children Act NT currently prevents same-sex couples from adopting children. Rainbow Territory member Jane Black states “The Anti-Discrimination Act is not the only law that needs changing. We want to see an end to all discrimination against LBGTQI Territorians.”
Formed in September 2014, Rainbow Territory is an unfunded Northern Territory community group that advocate for the human rights of Northern Territorians who identify as LGBTIQ. Rainbow Territory aims to develop a safer, fairer and a more inclusive Northern Territory.
Contact: Jane Black
Background information /references
Re religious educational institutions
Rainbow Territory understands there is no existing law that permits NT religious educational institutions to discriminate against students who are same sex attracted or gender diverse. Rainbow Territory understands there is no change proposed to the Anti-Discrimination act relating to students.
The current Anti-Discrimination Act provides an exemption for religious educational institutions in the area of employment, see section 37(a)
“Exemption – religious educational institutions
An educational authority that operates or proposes to operate an educational institution in accordance with the doctrine of a particular religion may discriminate against a person in the area of work in the institution if the discrimination:
(a) is on the grounds of:
(i) religious belief or activity; or
(ii) sexuality; and
(b) is in good faith to avoid offending the religious sensitivities of people of the particular religion.”
Previous law reform
The law substantial change in the area of gender and sexuality for the NT Anti-Discrimination Act was in 2003 through the Law Reform (Gender, Sexuality and De Facto Relationships) Act 2003 (Act No. 1, 2004). Assent Date 7 January 2003. Commenced 17 March 2004.
See also Darwin Community Legal Service Law reform research 2003
“In 2002/03, DCLS worked with community members and other service providers to develop a campaign promoting equality before the law for gay and lesbian Territorians. This included undertaking research and the development of submissions to government as well as community education and action. This campaign resulted in the passage of the Law Reform (Gender, Sexuality and De Facto Relationships) Bill 2003 which removed the majority of discriminatory provisions from NT legislation.”