25 years of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld)

25 years ago the Queensland Parliament passed the final reading of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991. It was law reform that would change the way Queenslanders lived, worked, and interacted.

For the first time in the State’s history an ethical and legal standard was set for what constituted acceptable behaviour towards others in the workplace and society at large. Queenslanders were afforded protection against unfair treatment and discrimination based on their gender, race, impairment, religious beliefs, sexuality, and breastfeeding as well as other attributes. The legislation also provided a much-needed avenue for redress and outlined the important functions of the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland (ADCQ) to lead and foster a fairer and more inclusive Queensland.

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991, State Library of Queensland and ADCQ have collaborated to create seven digital stories exploring the impact of the Act on Queenslanders. Contributors include activists, politicians, community advocates, social justice professionals, and everyday Queenslanders who share their thoughts, and personal and community stories of challenge and triumph against discrimination.

Kevin Cocks. Image State Library of Queensland

Kevin Cocks. Image State Library of Queensland

Kevin Cocks’ fight for dignified access through the front entrance of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre led to a change in the Building Code of Australia reinforcing the rights of people with mobility issues. The Chai Community’s regular gatherings on the Gold Coast inspire a greater appreciation of cultural and religious diversity and the power of individuals to bring about change in their local community. Insights into the past and the struggle for women’s rights and racial equality are all reminders of how far Queensland has progressed.

As we reflect on 25 years of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 and the change it has made, the digital stories remind us of the ongoing journey for a more inclusive and equal Queensland. The digital stories are viewable on One Search, Vimeo, and YouTube channels.

Olivia Robinson – Manager, Strategic Projects, State Library of Queensland