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Business reacts to new anti-discrimination laws

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HC Online | 22 Nov 2012, 12:00 AM Agree 0
Following the Attorney General’s announcement that the burden of proof will be reversed in anti-discrimination legislation, business leaders have led a backlash.
  • Wayne Harbor | 23 Nov 2012, 11:44 AM Agree 0
    I too am concerned about this development. What safe guard will be place for vexatious claims? As the old saying goes: "throw enough mud and some will stick."

    This has similar ideology as adverse action under Fair Work Act.
  • Sebastian Harvey | 23 Nov 2012, 01:09 PM Agree 0
    Reverse burden of proof is certainly problematic where the burden of proof is 'beyond reasonable doubt' (as for criminal law). However, the burden of proof for discrimination law is 'balance of probabilities'. In cases of discrimination a court has to establish 'is it more likely than not that discrimination has occurred'. In this context, reverse burden of proof is quite appropriate, especially when the prosecution has already had to estalish their bona fides in order to get it to court in the first place. In practical terms it should not change, in any significant way, the defence that an employer would have to mount against a complaint of discrimination under the current process. Also, given the complainant has to establish a prima facie case before it goes to court, the chances of vexatious complaints is actually reduced.

    We hope that people like George Brandis would understand these matters. If so, he is playing on the ignorance of the majority to gain political points. I would hope discrimination issues warrant a bipartisan approach.
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