CLA has long argued the need for national legislation so Australians can find out what their DNA tells them without suffering penalties under insurance and superannuation rules. Cheaper DNA testing, sometimes sponsored by insurance companies, is bringing this issue into new focus.
Media Release: Australians’ DNA needs safeguarding in legislation
There should be no discrimination in Australia on genetic grounds, Civil Liberties Australia says.
People should be able to take genetic tests for their own peace of mind and health reasons, without being forced to disclose the results to an insurance company.
“The Australian Government should legislate to protect Australians in such cases, as the US Government did in 2009,” CLA spokesperson Tim Vines said.
People should not be prejudiced in seeking insurance, or employment, on the basis of their DNA.
“We all have a right to use new technology to learn about our personal health situation: we don’t want people to be afraid of having tests because they might lose their insurance policies if they don’t disclose DNA information,” Mr Vines said.
“Discrimination on genetic grounds is equally as wrong as other forms of discrimination.”
As well as safeguarding people’s insurance policies, measures should be taken to ensure that job-seekers are not required to submit to DNA testing.
“At the moment an employer could require a new or potential employee to provide a DNA sampleMr Vines said. “How can it be free consent if you don’t get a job unless you comply?”.
CLA has been calling on the Government for a year to protect insured people, and to strengthen measures protecting employee’s rights.