History of Equal Opportunity in South Australia

20 December 2014 marks 30 years since the passing of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA).

This timeline shows significant dates in South Australia’s history that have improved equal opportunity and human rights.;xNLx;;xNLx;South Australia has a history as an early leader in human rights. For example, in 1861 land-owning South Australian women were able to vote in local elections. In 1894, South Australia followed New Zealand in extending the franchise to women voters - but went further than New Zealand and offered women also the right to stand for the colonial Parliament.;xNLx;;xNLx;Since then, the state has often led the nation with its anti-discrimination laws and in human rights.;xNLx;;xNLx;The timeline includes major legislative milestones including the introduction of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) and subsequent amendments to the Act. ;xNLx;;xNLx;Have questions about this timeline or something to add? Please contact the Equal Opportunity Commission via our website www.eoc.sa.gov.au or call (08) 8207 1977.

Women property owners able to vote

Women property owners were granted the right to vote in municipal elections in 1861.

Roma Mitchell appointed to Supreme Court

Roma Mitchell appointed to the Supreme Court. First female judge in the British Commonwealth. "As far as being a woman is concerned, I am hopeful that in my lifetime, appointments such as this will not excite comment."

Sex Discrimination Act 1975

The first Sex Discrimination Act in Australia was passed by the South Australian Parliament. It protected people against sex or marital status discrimination, and against being victimised for complaining about discrimination

Equal Opportunity Amendment Bill

The Equal Opportunity (Miscellaneous) Amendement Bill 2006 was read in Parliament for the first time.

Sexual Offences - Cognitive Impairment Bill

The State Government passed the Criminal Law Consolidation (Sexual Offences-Cognitive Impairment) Bill 2014 which will make it a crime if someone uses undue influence to engage in sexual activity with a person with a cognitive impairment.

The Martin Review

In 1994, at the request of the former Government, Mr Brian Martin QC published a review of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (the ‘Martin Report’).

Prohibition of Discrimination Act

1966 Prohibition of Discrimination Act. The Act was the first of its kind in Australia and protected people against race discrimination (including skin colour and country of origin) in services, accommodation, employment and controlling land.

The Proclamation of South Australia

The provision to establish the settlement in South Australia, was set out in the South Australia Act, 1834. The Letters Patent were presented to King William of England to formally seek the approval to establish the province of South Australia and precisely define its boundaries. The Letters were dated 19 February 1836.

Commissioner Linda Matthews

Linda Matthews was the South Australian Commissioner for Equal Opportunity between May 1996 and June 2010.

Commissioner Anne Burgess

Anne Burgess was the South Australian Commissioner for Equal Opportunity from June 2010 to August 2012 and the Acting Commissioner from December 2015 to May 2016.

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