Rights in Australia
Australia has national laws that protect your rights and freedoms, including your right to be treated well in all areas of life.
This page lists the main anti-discrimination laws in Australia.
Watch the Australian Human Rights Commission video (external website) about your rights in Australian law:
Tip: Click the subtitles button in the bottom right hand corner of the video to turn closed captions on and off.
Australia has four national anti-discrimination laws that protect you from being treated badly because of things you cannot change. These include your age, disability, race, gender and sexuality.
1. Age Discrimination Act 2004
The Age Discrimination Act makes it against the law for someone to discriminate against you because of your age in areas such as employment, education and healthcare.
This means that if you apply for a job or a place at a university, or ask for an appointment with your doctor, they cannot say no because you are too young or too old.
2. Disability Discrimination Act 1992
The Disability Discrimination Act protects you from being treated badly because you have a disability. This Act supports you to have the same rights as everyone else.
It means that you are able take part in education, employment and politics, and that you can ask for information and services to be given to you in the way that best meets your requirements.
Tip: The Disability Discrimination Act requires businesses, government organisations, schools and workplaces to follow standards for accessibility. Learn more about the Disability Standards (external link).
3. Sex Discrimination Act 1984
The Sex Discrimination Act was put in place to make sure that women and men are treated equally. It makes it against the law for someone to discriminate against you because of your gender, sexuality, relationships or family responsibilities.
Under the Act, women must have the same opportunities as men in all areas of life. You cannot be denied access to things that others can take part in, like sports, school and work because you are a woman.
4. Racial Discrimination Act 1975
The Racial Discrimination Act makes it against the law for someone to be treated badly or unfairly because of their skin colour, race, country or culture.
Indigenous people, migrants and culturally and linguistically diverse people must be treated with respect and be given the same opportunities as everyone else.
Tip: If someone discriminates against you, you can complain to the Australian Human Rights Commission. Learn how on the Making a Complaint page.
Privacy Act 1988
The Privacy Act protects your right to privacy in your personal and family life. This Act also gives you control over how your personal information is used by services and organisations. It allows you to:
- know why your personal information is being collected and have a say in how it will be used
- ask for your information to be kept private
- ask for access to your personal information (including your health information)
- stop unwanted phone calls and emails.
Tip: If you think that an organisation or agency has used your information in way that breaches your privacy, you can make a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (external link).