THE COALITION Against Domestic Violence has praised improvements in the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill, but criticised the omission of two groups from those who can apply for a protection order.
The group commented on the bill, which was passed in the Lower House on Wednesday, in a release.
"These improvements are now overshadowed to some extent by the perpetuation of discrimination. The majority of senators failed to affirm that everyone is equally entitled to eligibility to apply for a protection order. Notwithstanding an increase in the categories of persons eligible to apply for protection order, including persons in (a) visiting relationship, the act will still not be available to protect persons who are members of the same household who are not related, whether they are same sex or not, whether they are in an intimate relationship or not."
The CADV found it "disheartening that we are once again at a position where equal treatment of all has been denied.
"We must reject discrimination. All members of households regardless of gender or sexual orientation, regardless of the existence of familial relationship or not, deserve equal protection."
The group said the Commissioner of Police had recently pledged commitment to non-discriminatory policing in establishing the Gender-Based Violence Unit within the police service.
"We need all-inclusive protection which is consistent with the fundamental rights set out in the Constitution."
The group added: "The elected members of Parliament have an opportunity and an obligation to rectify this. Anyone who shares a household either through familial or friendship bonds should be eligible to apply for a protection order."