Discrimination for People Who Use Illicit Drugs Still a Potential Threat

"Discrimination for people who use illicit drugs still a potential threat" says National Drug Users Organisation

The Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) the national organisation representing people who inject/use illicit drugs is today cautiously reviewing the recommendations and report from the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee into the Disability Discrimination Amendment Bill.

Ms. Annie Madden AIVL's Executive Officer said, "While we can gain a sense of achievement for our hard work in lobbying against the amendments to the bill, there is still work to do". Ms Madden continued, "While we are very pleased that the committee has recommended that, "…if the Bill remains as is, and extends to areas beyond employment, the Bill should not proceed" and that it be referred to the Ministerial Council on Drugs Strategy for further consideration, we are concerned that the committee has left the door open to a amendment with a focus on employment".

AIVL and other organisations have worked hard to raise with the Committee the potential implications that this legislation will have within the employment context. AIVL believes that there is sufficient recourse in place for employers to manage poor performing employees and that this legislation will only further marginalise people who use illicit drugs.

Ms. Madden stated, "Within the employment context, this legislation will be difficult to enact and will potentially give carte blanche to employers to discriminate against people who they suspect may use illicit substances regardless of their work performance. It will also act as a barrier for people who may be experiencing problems with their drug use from coming forward and seeking treatment for fear of losing their jobs".

"This legislation condones discrimination and as a community we must challenge this type of thinking. We do not believe any government should be legislating to make it easier to discriminate against an already highly marginalised group in the community" Ms Madden concluded. AIVL will continue to monitor developments and ongoing discussions in relation to this amendment and will continue to lobby for it to not proceed."