Past issues

Commissioner for Equal Opportunity Ebulletin November 2019

by EOC | Nov 08, 2019

November 2019

From the Commissioner - 16 Days in WA

From 25 November to 10 December the State Government is running the 16 Days in WA to Stop Violence Against Women.

The Commission welcomes this campaign and congratulates the Government on this initiative.

As our recently tabled Annual Report shows, women consistently lodge more complaints of discrimination than men, with impairment discrimination being the only ground where men lodged a significantly higher amount of complaints for the 2018-19 reporting year.

Sexual harassment made it into the top three grounds complained about in 2018-19 with over three quarters of the complaints lodged by women.

At the Commission we always say our complaint numbers are the tip of the iceberg and there are many unreported sexual harassment incidents throughout Western Australia.

Indeed, figures quoted by the Government about violence against women are alarming.

In 2018 Western Australia recorded the highest rate of family and domestic violence related homicide offences across the nation and most of the victims were women.

Statistics like this show WA still has a long way to go.

On 10 December, the final day of the 16 Days in WA campaign, the Commission will focus on women in prisons with CEO of Sisters Inside Debbie Kilroy OAM speaking at our annual International Human Rights Day event.

Ms Kilroy is one of Australia’s leading advocates for protecting the human rights of women and children through decarceration and she will be speaking on the topic Barriers Inside and Out: human rights issues impacting on incarceration and reintegration for women and children.

I encourage you all to attend this worthwhile event during the 16 Days in WA campaign to learn more about how discrimination against women impacts wider society.

To register go to:


Acting Commissioner for Equal Opportunity John Byrne

Acting Commissioner Dr John Byrne



2020 Aboriginal Calendar available to order

The 2020 Aboriginal Calendar is now available to order. The colourful, intricate artwork was inspired by the 2019 NAIDOC Week theme Voice Treaty Truth and was created by Kayla, Tarryn and Sarah Thomas.

To order your 2020 Equal Opportunity Commission Aboriginal Calendar click here.

2020 Aboriginal calendar-1



Annual report tabled

The Equal Opportunity Commission’s 2018-19 Annual Report was recently tabled in Parliament on Tuesday 22 October and is available on the Commission’s website.

The report highlights a continuing need to address impairment discrimination, especially in the area of employment where people with an impairment are negatively impacted by bias in recruitment processes.

It also highlights the Commission’s major achievements throughout the year with four major events held, 188 training and education sessions held around the state and 475 complaints received.

The report also features summaries of various complaints received throughout the reporting year.



Pride fair day

The Equal Opportunity Commission held a stall at the Pride Fair Day on 2 November at Hyde Park providing information and outreach to Perth’s LGBTI community and its allies.

Senior Legal Officer Allan Macdonald who attended the stall said he was pleased to see the continued support of Pride Fair Day in Perth, and specifically the Commission.

“We had many visitors to our stall chatting to us about our work and its positive impact on the LGBTI community.

“There were a lot of enquiries about the Religious Freedoms Bill the Federal Government introduced recently and how it might impact the WA LGBTI community and sexual orientation discrimination over here,” he said.

Commission Services Manager Diana MacTiernan, Commission Communications Officer Sarah Johnston, Commission Conciliation Officer Ann-Marie McCann with fair goers

Commission Services Manager Diana MacTiernan, Commission Communications Officer Sarah Johnston, Commission Conciliation Officer Ann-Marie McCann with fair goers



Social Equity winner announced

The Equal Opportunity Commission sponsored the Social Equity Report category at the WA Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance Media Awards held on Saturday 2 November this year.

The three finalists were Joey Catanzaro and Annabel Hennessy from The West Australian, with their report The Face of Misjustice, Rhianna Mitchell, also from The West Australian, with her report Finding hope, joy and purpose in remote communities and Emily Smith, ABC online, Not another nameless statistic.

Emily Smith won the award for the category this year.



Commissioner talks immigration

Acting Equal Opportunity Commissioner Dr John Byrne was one of five panellists at the presentation of the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre’s launch of its report Finding a place to call home: Immigration in Australia.

The seventh report in the BCEC’s Focus on the States series explores the profile and evolution of immigration in Australia over recent years.

“The contribution by migrants to our culture and economy is outstanding.

“It needs to be matched by a fair go, compassion and freedom from discrimination.” Dr Byrne said.

Panellists were asked various questions from the audience during the launch.

Dr Byrne discussed the possibility of disability discrimination in Australia’s deportation policies.

“Australia needs to show more compassion and accept care responsibility for people who are waiting in Australia to become citizens and where a health issue arises or where a child is born in Australia with a disability.

“Currently people in that situation are at risk of deportation on the basis of the future cost of their care.” He said.

The Finding a place to call home report is available on the BCEC website.

Acting Commissioner Dr John Byrne with panellists and launch organisers (photo by Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre)

Acting Commissioner Dr John Byrne with panellists and launch organisers (photo by Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre)




What's coming up

The Commission’s Training Calendar from July to December 2019 is now available. You can register for all Commission courses on the Community Education page.

7 November               Sexual Harassment – Know where the line is

13 November             Introduction to Equal Opportunity Law  

19-20 November       Equity Grievance Officer Role (2 days)

10 December             International Human Rights Day event 

Please contact us on 9216 3900 if you are interested in organisation specific training or for a rights-based session for your clients or community members.

If you wish to be added to our contact list for the e-bulletin please fill out the subscription form here.
You can find past issues of the e-bulletin here
For more information please contact us
 or call Communications Officer on (08) 9216 3911 or for WA country callers 1800 198 149.

Share the Commissioner's e-bulletin on your social networks 

    @EOCWA  Equal opportunity news in WA