Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark has criticised the Gillard government’s anti-discrimination proposal in an op ed in today’s Australian. Clark notes the danger for state governments posed by the draft Bill and makes the interesting point that the Gillard government has exempted itself from these dangerous laws:
The draft law could also dramatically affect the ability of state governments to serve and protect their communities.
It appears to apply, for example, to responsibilities of police and other law enforcement authorities such as the pursuit, arrest, transport and detention of suspects, transport and accommodation of prisoners and exercise of discretion by prosecutors.
If the Gillard government’s proposal becomes law, police and prison authorities could be hamstrung in their work of protecting the community by a barrage of anti-discrimination claims brought by suspects, offenders and prisoners.
The Gillard government proposes to exempt all its own activities authorised under commonwealth law from the application of its new law.
However, it proposes no such general exemption for activities authorised under state laws, even though a vast range of state government roles affected by the new law are crucial for safeguarding the community.