DISCRIMINATION on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity would be outlawed nationally under a proposed overhaul of federal discrimination laws unveiled on Tuesday.
Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Finance Minister Penny Wong released draft laws that would consolidate, harmonise and simplify the five existing Commonwealth discrimination laws.
Under the draft laws, discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity would be specifically banned for the first time at the national level, delivering on a 2010 Labor election commitment. While state laws contain protections against discrimination on the basis of sexuality, no such protections exist federally.
An exemption that currently allows faith-based aged-care providers to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity would be removed, but other religious exemptions would continue.
The draft laws contain a single definition of discrimination as ''unfavourable treatment'' and a simple defence of ''justification'', meaning that discrimination is lawful when it is done for a legitimate aim and is proportionate to that aim.
Anyone discriminated against on two grounds simultaneously will need only make one complaint.
Ms Roxon said there would be no reduction in existing protections.