SKIP TO CONTENT

Submission to the Religious Freedom Reform Bills

We have worked with Rainbow Families Victoria and Queensland on a joint submission to the Religious Freedom Reform Bills in response to

  • Religious Discrimination Bill 2019
  • Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019 
  • Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Freedom of Religion) Bill 2019

We do not support the Bills in their current form as presented in the Exposure Drafts.

Our general concerns with the Exposure Drafts are detailed below. In crafting our response, we have considered the Bills through the lens of ensuring our children’s rights and best interests. Our primary concern remains that our children are not discriminated against, treated unfairly, subjected to offensive or hurtful remarks or refused access to education, employment or health care because of who is in their family or how their family was formed. Given these considerations, we are unable to support the Bills as they stand.

Our general concerns with the Exposure Drafts are detailed below. In crafting our response, we have considered the Bills through the lens of ensuring our children’s rights and best interests. Our primary concern remains that our children are not discriminated against, treated unfairly, subjected to offensive or hurtful remarks or refused access to education, employment or health care because of who is in their family or how their family was formed. Given these considerations, we are unable to support the Bills as they stand.

At a minimum we recommend the following changes to the Religious Discrimination Bill 2019:

  • Clause 8(3)-(6) are removed entirely.
  • In Clause 10(1) the term “may reasonably regarded” be changed to “conforms with” or

“is in regard to”.

  • Clause 41 is removed entirely.
  • A “person” is defined as a natural person.

Further we recommend that the federal government consider:

  1. Creating a Gender Identity, Sexuality and Intersex Status Commissioner or an LGBTIQ+ equivalent as part of the Australian Human Rights Commission.
  1. Removing of the existing exemptions in the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act that allow students and staff to be discriminated against in faith-based schools because of their sexual orientation, gender identify or relationship status.

We do support providing protection from discrimination for people of faith, including people of no faith, in the form of a Religious Discrimination Bill as we acknowledge that many minority faith communities are often faced with discrimination and vilification and should be protected. We would welcome a bill that offers protection to those who need it but not one that allows individuals or organisations the ability to discriminate against people, including our children and our rainbow families.

However, because the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill has so many unorthodox and deeply troubling elements, we are unable to support its passage through parliament.

Download the submission here

BACK