What is the Australian Human Rights Commission?

What do they do?

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) takes complaints about discrimination, sexual harassment, and people saying or doing bad things against or about people of a certain race or religion.

Who can complain?

You can complain about something that happened to you.

Someone can complain for you if you are a child, or if your disability makes it difficult for you to complaint for yourself.  You will need to say it’s OK for someone else to complain for you.

You can also complain for group of people including yourself, if you all experienced the same thing, and the other people say it’s OK.

How do they do it?

The AHRC tries to use conciliation to deal with complaints.  This means a person called a conciliator talking to you and the other side, and trying to find a solution.  This might need a meeting of the two sides and the conciliator. A person called a conciliator meets with you and the other side together, and tries to find a solution.

If a solution is found this way, AHRC might write a ‘settlement agreement’.  This is paperwork that explains the solution and shows that everybody has said yes to it.

What if we can’t agree?

If you can’t agree to a solution, or you don’t want to continue with conciliation, you can take your complaint somewhere else.  You may be able to complain to the Federal Circuit Court or the Federal Court of Australia.

How much does it cost?

The service is free.

Are there complaints AHRC can’t take?

Often AHRC can’t take a complaint more than twelve months (one year) after thing you are complaining about happened.

AHRC may decide not to take a complaint if it has already gone to court, or if there is somewhere else that would be better to look after the complaint.

How am I protected when I complain to AHRC?

It is illegal to treat somebody badly because they complained to the AHRC or gave information to the AHRC about a complaint.

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