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AUSTRALIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION ACT 1986 - SECT 11

Functions of Commission

             (1)  The functions of the Commission are:

                     (a)  such functions as are conferred on the Commission by the Age Discrimination Act 2004 , the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 , the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 , the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 or any other enactment; and

                    (aa)  to inquire into, and attempt to conciliate, complaints of unlawful discrimination; and

                   (ab)  to deal with complaints lodged under Part IIC; and

                     (b)  such functions as are to be performed by the Commission pursuant to an arrangement in force under section 16; and

                     (c)  such functions as are expressed to be conferred on the Commission by any State enactment, being functions in relation to which the Minister has made a declaration under section 18; and

                     (d)  the functions conferred on the Commission by section 31; and

                     (e)  to examine enactments, and (when requested to do so by the Minister) proposed enactments, for the purpose of ascertaining whether the enactments or proposed enactments, as the case may be, are, or would be, inconsistent with or contrary to any human right, and to report to the Minister the results of any such examination; and

                      (f)  to:

                              (i)  inquire into any act or practice that may be inconsistent with or contrary to any human right; and

                             (ii)  if the Commission considers it appropriate to do so--endeavour, by conciliation, to effect a settlement of the matters that gave rise to the inquiry; and

                     (g)  to promote an understanding and acceptance, and the public discussion, of human rights in Australia; and

                     (h)  to undertake research and educational programs and other programs, on behalf of the Commonwealth, for the purpose of promoting human rights, and to co-ordinate any such programs undertaken by any other persons or authorities on behalf of the Commonwealth; and

                      (j)  on its own initiative or when requested by the Minister, to report to the Minister as to the laws that should be made by the Parliament, or action that should be taken by the Commonwealth, on matters relating to human rights; and

                     (k)  on its own initiative or when requested by the Minister, to report to the Minister as to the action (if any) that, in the opinion of the Commission, needs to be taken by Australia in order to comply with the provisions of the Covenant, of the Declarations or of any relevant international instrument; and

                    (m)  on its own initiative or when requested by the Minister, to examine any relevant international instrument for the purpose of ascertaining whether there are any inconsistencies between that instrument and the Covenant, the Declarations or any other relevant international instrument, and to report to the Minister the results of any such examination; and

                     (n)  to prepare, and to publish in such manner as the Commission considers appropriate, guidelines for the avoidance of acts or practices of a kind in respect of which the Commission has a function under paragraph (f); and

                     (o)  where the Commission considers it appropriate to do so, with the leave of the court hearing the proceedings and subject to any conditions imposed by the court, to intervene in proceedings that involve human rights issues; and

                     (p)  to do anything incidental or conducive to the performance of any of the preceding functions.

             (2)  The Commission shall not:

                     (a)  regard an enactment or proposed enactment as being inconsistent with or contrary to any human right for the purposes of paragraph (1)(e) by reason of a provision of the enactment or proposed enactment that is included solely for the purpose of securing adequate advancement of particular persons or groups of persons in order to enable them to enjoy or exercise human rights equally with other persons; or

                     (b)  regard an act or practice as being inconsistent with or contrary to any human right for the purposes of paragraph (1)(f) where the act or practice is done or engaged in solely for the purpose referred to in paragraph (a) of this subsection.

             (3)  Notwithstanding paragraphs (1)(a), (d) and (f), the functions of the Commission do not include inquiring into an act or practice of an intelligence agency, and, where a complaint is made to the Commission alleging that an act or practice of such an agency is inconsistent with or contrary to any human right, constitutes discrimination, or is unlawful under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 , the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 , the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 , or the Age Discrimination Act 2004 , the Commission shall refer the complaint to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

             (4)  A reference in subsection (3) to an intelligence agency is a reference to the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the Office of National Assessments, that part of the Defence Department known as the Australian Signals Directorate (including any part of the Defence Force that performs functions on behalf of that part of the Department), that part of the Defence Department known as the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (including any part of the Defence Force that performs functions on behalf of that part of the Department) or that part of the Defence Department known as the Defence Intelligence Organisation.



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