Government releases draft religious discrimination bill

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Home > Media > News > Government releases draft religious discrimination bill
Government releases draft religious discrimination bill

Attorney-General Christian Porter released the Morrison government’s draft Religious Discrimination Bill on August 29.

“Australia has a strong anti-discrimination framework with specific protections for people against discrimination on the basis of their age, sex, race and disability.

“This draft Bill…extends those protections to provide protection for people against discrimination on the basis of their religion or religious belief, or lack thereof.

“The Bill would make it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of religious belief or activity in key areas of public life,” Mr Porter said.

The draft Bill ensures protection for people who express their religious beliefs in good faith from Australian anti-discrimination law.

Archbishop Julian said that although it will take some time to receive a thorough legal assessment of the Bill, he sees the draft Bill “as a positive step forward”.

“I am encouraged by the fact that the government’s draft religious Discrimination Bill seeks to address the situation I was placed in when cited under subsection 17 (1) of the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act.

“I have always maintained the Tasmanian legislation under which I was cited sets an unreasonably low threshold for limiting respectful speech in our society.”

Bishop Delegate for Religious Freedom Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli said the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference “supports a religious discrimination act in principle, as an acknowledgement in law of religious freedom”.

“We want to ensure people with a religious faith like Archbishop Julian Porteous cannot be put before an anti-discrimination tribunal for respectfully explaining religious teaching on marriage or any other issue.

“We are reviewing the government’s exposure draft bills and will be consulting with people in Catholic agencies on the implications of the draft legislation,” Archbishop Comensoli said.

An overview of the government’s religious freedom reforms, and information about how to lodge a submission about the Religious Discrimination Bill 2019, can be viewed and downloaded from www.ag.gov.au/Consultations/Pages/religious-freedom-bills

Submissions close at 5pm on October 2.