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HREOC Website: Sex Discrimination - Striking the Balance

Media Alert

It’s About Time: a new social vision for Australia

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

A new law protecting workers with family and carer responsibilities from discrimination and giving them a right to request flexible work arrangements is at the centre of a range of recommendations released today by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC).  

The It’s About Time: Women, men, work and family paper, being launched today in Sydney is the result of two years of research and national community consultation. The paper sets out a framework for reform which recognises changing family and carer responsibilities across the life cycle.  The paper outlines what support Australians need to give themselves real options about balancing paid work and care.

“The law plays a central role and we believe a new specialised Family Responsibilities and Carers’ Rights Act is the best way of improving protection for workers with family responsibilities,” HREOC President and Acting Sex Discrimination Commissioner, John von Doussa said.

“This paper also takes a broader view and proposes a range of measures to make our communities, tax and welfare systems, child care, aged care and disability services, as well as our workplaces, more family-friendly.

“We believe our proposals work for business as well as families.”

Mr von Doussa said it was fitting on the eve of International Women’s Day (8 March) to reflect on family responsibilities as one of the key issues still facing women in the workplace.

“Gender equality is a vital part of the new approach to paid work and family responsibilities,” Mr von Doussa said. “But this is not just about gender equality – it is about supporting both men and women to make choices which best suit them to meet their responsibilities for the care of children and aged or family members with disability.”

The It’s About Time: Women, men, work and family paper makes 45 recommendations to start the ball rolling in creating a new social vision for Australia which is based on the wealth of time spent with family as well as the wealth that comes from economic prosperity.

The report was launched by HREOC President John von Doussa with guest speakers Wendy Harmer and Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell AM at the offices of Blake Dawson Waldron in Sydney.

The report and media kit will be available online from 11am on 7 March at

For media enquiries or to arrange an interview/photo opportunity with Mr von Doussa please call Louise McDermott on 02 9284 9851 or 0419 258 597.

Click here for photos from the launch

Click on the links below to access:

22 August, 2012