Intervention in proceedings

The Commission's functions include intervening in a proceeding that involves human rights issues, if the Commission considers it appropriate, and with the leave of the court hearing the proceeding.

The Commission may apply to intervene in a proceeding where it may be able to provide expert assistance to the court or tribunal.

The Commission has intervened in proceedings about the following matters.

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Characteristic of an attribute (Xi case)

The Commission intervened in an appeal against a decision of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) on a complaint of race discrimination alleging failure to provide an interpreter.

The Commission made written submissions about the interpretation and application of indirect discrimination under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991, and about language as a characteristic of race.

The QCAT Appeal Tribunal found the tribunal had made two errors of law relating to language skills being a characteristic of the attribute of race. The tribunal was incorrect in identifying a comparator for direct discrimination, and in considering whether a term had been imposed for indirect discrimination. The complaint was remitted to the tribunal for reconsideration.

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Statutory interpretation (Attrill case)

The Commission intervened in an appeal from a decision of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). An application was made to QCAT for an order under section 144 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 to protect the interests of a complainant before the complaint was referred to QCAT. In the original decision, QCAT found the complaint was invalid, and that a provision of the Public Service Act 2008 impliedly repealed section 15 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 because of inconsistency.

The QCAT Appeal Tribunal overturned the original decision, and the State then appealed to the Queensland Court of Appeal.

In both appeals, the Commission provided written submissions about the relationship between the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 and the Public Service Act 2008, and about the tribunal's powers on an application for an order to protect the complainant's interests before referral of the complaint. The Commission also appeared at both hearings.

Submissions in Attrill case

Decisions in Attrill

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Equal remuneration (Ergon Energy case)

The Commission intervened in proceedings in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) for certification of an agreement. An issue before the QIRC was the meaning of the requirement under section 156(1)(m) of the Industrial Relations Act 1999 for the QIRC to be satisfied, before certifying a multi-employer agreement, that the agreement provides for equal remuneration for all men and women employees covered by the agreement for work of equal or comparable value.

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