The Disability Discrimination Act 1992The Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) provides protection for everyone in Australia against discrimination based on disability. In August, 2009, The Disability Discrimination and Other Human Rights Legislation Amendment Act 2009 (the Act) came into effect. This Act amends the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and provides for a more consistent and coherent application of definitions.
The Disability Standards for Education 2005 (the Standards) is subordinate legislation which clarifies the obligations of education and training service providers and the rights of people with disabilities under the DDA.
The Standards give students and prospective students with disabilities the right to education and training opportunities on the same basis as students without a disability. This includes the right to comparable access, services and facilities, and the right to participate in education and training without discrimination. Education providers have an obligation to make changes to reasonably accommodate the needs of students with disabilities.
The Standards also require education providers to put in place strategies and programs to prevent harassment and victimisation. They must ensure that staff and students know it is not lawful to harass or victimise students with disabilities, or students who have associates with disabilities, or their carer, assistant, assistance animal and/or disability aid. An education provider must take reasonable steps to ensure that staff and students know what to do if harassment or victimisation occurs.
The definition of 'disability'
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) includes a legal definition of 'disability' which is also adopted in the Disability Standards for Education 2005 .
The DDA definition is as follows:
disability, in relation to a person, means:
(a) total or partial loss of the person's bodily or mental(b) total or partial loss of a part of the body; or
(c) the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness; or
(d) the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness; or
(e) the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person's body; or
(f) a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction; or
(g) a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person's thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behaviour;
and includes a disability that:
(h) presently exists; or(i) previously existed but no longer exists; or
(j) may exist in the future (including because of a genetic predisposition to that disability); or
(k) is imputed to a person.
To avoid doubt, a disability that is otherwise covered by this definition includes behaviour that is a symptom or manifestation of the disability.
The Queensland Disability Services Act
The Queensland Disability Services Act 2006 has measures to safeguard the rights and safety of people with a disability, and combines with existing systems to improve the quality of services they receive.
The legislation encourages all Queenslanders to promote inclusive principles within their own communities. People with disabilities have the right to equal access to services available to other members of the Queensland community. The service delivery principles encourage service providers to consider the needs of people with disabilities when they design and deliver services.
The Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 is available on the Comlaw website . The Queensland Disability Services Act 2006 is available on the Office of Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website.
If you believe your child is being discriminated against:
- discuss your concerns with the school principal
- discuss your concerns with personnel at your local regional office
- contact the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland on telephone 1300 130 670 to discuss your concerns
- discuss your concerns with the Australian Human Rights Commission on telephone (02) 9284 9600 (general enquiries) or 1300 656 419 (complaints information line)