Nicola Roxon
Nicola Roxon

Outcry over discrimination bill led to other options: Roxon

ATTORNEY-GENERAL Nicola Roxon has backed away from parts of a new national discrimination bill that may have threatened freedom of speech after a public outcry about the draft laws.

Ms Roxon last year released details of the bill, which would bring together numerous human rights and other discrimination bills, to form a single piece of law.

But there was widespread outcry over the exposure draft of the bill, which attracted more than 500 submissions.

Mr Roxon, on Thursday, told ABC Radio the government was still doing "exactly what we said we would", and the response from various groups had led her to ask her department to "look at other options".

"The reason this is an exposure draft, the reason it wasn't introduced into the parliament or been changed in debate, is because we accepted that there are a range of complex provisions and this is one that's got a lot of attention through the Senate inquiry process," she said.

"That's the Senate inquiry doing its proper work and our department will then put the next options next week when it presents to the committee so that people can look at what was the clear intention of the government, they can give advice about what the Senate believes is a better option.

"It seems to me clear that there are better options than the one that's been proposed and we'll take it forward from there."