Past issues

Equal Opportunity Commissioner's e-bulletin August 2016

by Equal Opportunity Commission | Sep 08, 2016

Working in the community

NAIDOC Celebration of Aboriginal culture

On July 6, thousands of people converged on the Herb Graham Recreation Centre, Mirrabooka, to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, art, and history as part of NAIDOC 2016. A BBQ, kangaroo stew and damper, amusement rides for children of all ages, information stalls, entertainment from local performers, Kids Karaoke, and much more was available.

The Commission had a stall providing information on complaint handling and community education services. The Commission’s fridge magnets and Aboriginal-themed calendars were very popular promotional items.

NAIDOC was celebrated across Australia in large and small towns. On the national stage, a number of Western Australian Aboriginal people were honoured for their significant contributions, including Noongar Elder Dr Robert Isaacs OAM, who was NAIDOC’s 2016 male Elder of the Year.  NAIDOC’s   Scholar of the Year was Broome resident, Ms Layneisha Sgro, a proud Nyiyaparli, Bardi, and Jabbir Jabbir woman who has compiled an impressive list of academic achievements, including the highest ATAR ever scored by an Indigenous student in WA. 

Aussie Rules club tackles racism 

In 2015, a junior Australian Rules football player from a Northern suburbs club was racially abused during a game. The club’s committee decided it was important for all its players to be provided with community education on the issue of racism and asked the Commission to develop a training module for young players.

In May 2016, Community Education Officers conducted a series of afternoon workshops for players, coaches and parents. Of the 118 players in the 8-9 age groups, 104 attended, and of the 95 players in the Years 10, 11 and 12 teams, 72 attended.

Commission staff explored types of racist behaviour and the negative impact it has on people subjected to this behaviour.  Examples were given of well known racist incidents involving AFL legends Adam Goodes and Nicky Winmar. Parents and coaches were provided with information on the Play by the Rules initiative and its resources for combating racism under the “Racism it stops with me” program.

Officials from the West Perth Junior Football Council and the West Australian Football Commission attended the workshop and have recommended that other football clubs and districts seek the Commission’s support as part of an anti-racism strategy.

If you or your organisation is interested in having a Commission training session, customised to your needs, about Workplace culture or any other aspect of equal opportunity, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Legal update

The Commission recently placed on its website historical decisions of the Equal Opportunity Tribunal (EOT) which are not available elsewhere. Below is a well known sex discrimination complaint.

Male midwife denied training

In 2001 Mr Askey-Doran, a male midwife, complained that he had been discriminated against on the ground of his sex by the Fremantle Women’s Health Centre.  

Mr Askey-Doran responded to an advertisement from the Centre’s Alternative Birthing Service for two 6-month positions to work with accredited midwives to be trained, accredited, and then possibly employed as home birth midwives.

Mr Askey-Doran was interviewed and told the same day that he and a female applicant had been selected, and this decision was confirmed in writing.  Mr Askey-Doran was subsequently told the accredited midwives at the Centre were unhappy with the appointment of a man. He then received a letter from the Women’s Health Centre informing him that the Centre was not his employer, and would not provide him with future employment. The Centre then advertised for a female midwife to be trained under its Alternative Birthing Service.

Mr Askey-Doran lodged a complaint of sex discrimination, alleging that if he had been a woman his appointment would not have been cancelled.

The Commissioner referred the matter to the Tribunal after attempts at conciliation were not successful.

The Tribunal found that the decision by the Centre to block Mr Askey-Doran’s appointment to the Alternative Birthing Service amounted to unlawful sex discrimination. The Women’s Health Centre was ordered to pay Mr Askey-Doran $19,000, as compensation for the salary he would have received for the 6-month appointment.

Askey-Doran v Fremantle Women's Health Centre (2001) EOC 93-116 (21 July 2000):

Website highlights

Fact Sheets & 2016 Calendar

The Commission has a range of fact sheets and its popular 2016 calendar available in PDF format. These can be downloaded and printed.

Two new fact sheets about the Equal Opportunity Act, aimed at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and at migrant and refugee communities are now available.

Read more

What's coming up

You can register for all Commission courses on the Community Education page

August 3        Contact Officer Refresher (9:30am-4:30pm)

August 10      Sexual harassment - Know where the line is (1:00pm-3:00pm)

August 23      Contact Officer Role (9:00am-4:30pm)

Can we help?


The Commissioner’s telephone and online enquiry service provides information on whether your circumstances can be addressed under the Equal Opportunity Act.


The Commission can deliver free education sessions and workshops for community groups and advocates about rights under the Equal Opportunity Act.


The Commission website has a wealth of information for community members and organisations about their rights and responsibilities under the Act

Find more information on the Commission’s webpage Your rights

Contact us on 92163900, 1800 198 149 (country callers) 9216 3936 (TTY) or email

If you wish to be added to our contact list for the e-bulletin and special events or more information please email or call the Commission on 92163900.

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