Senate to discuss Human Rights Act changes
Senators will today be asked to approve changes to the Human Rights Act passed by the House of Assembly on Friday.
It is expected the Government side will seek to remove a clause from the new bill which advocacy groups say could allow police harassment.
Parliament approved changes which made sexual orientation discrimination unlawful, prohibited age discrimination in the areas of provision of goods, facilities and services and housing, provided for the Human Rights Commission to mediate complaints and expanded the definition of harassment to include all areas beyond the workplace.
Government’s proposal to remove the entire harassment amendment in response to concerns of the advocacy groups was defeated by the Opposition Progressive Labour Party, but the offending subsection remains in the bill.
Attorney General Mark Pettingill told the House that Government intended to bring a separate law addressing harassment as it was feared that the Human Rights Commission might be inundated with complaints about harassment.
Mr Pettingill indicated to this newspaper that the issue would be rectified in the Senate.
Amendments made by the Senate Chamber would have to go back to the House for final approval before being sent to the Governor for his assent.