Religious Discrimination Bill

Briefing for Presbyterian Churches

Key points
While the Religious Discrimination Bill is not everything that faith communities hoped for, it is worth our support.

The Bill is being examined by two parliamentary committees and it is expected to be voted on early in 2022. That is likely to be a heated political process.

The Bill will:
• add to federal legislation protections against discrimination on the basis of religious belief and activity;
• clarify that statements of religious belief and non-belief are protected from complaints of discrimination, and this will override any provisions in state laws;
• allow an employee to complain about restrictions on statements of belief which an employer will have to show to be reasonable;
• allow religious organisations freedom to believe, teach and act according to their religious convictions including limiting membership and appointing staff share its views and are committed to its mission;
• ensure these employment rights operate nation-wide including explicitly overriding the recent Victorian legislation removing the employment rights of religious schools.

Media reports that the government will change the Sex Discrimination Act at the same time have been firmly denied by the Attorney-General. There will, however, probably be pressure for this.
 

The Presbyterian Church will make submissions to the Parliamentary Committees.
 

There is open online survey which we encourage you to complete —
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ReligiousDiscrimination.

We have some suggested responses:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/dv9hhhrerxaaxpv/Religious%20Discrimination%20Survey
%20Guide.pdf?dl=0

 

You may also consider make your own submission, and contacting your local MP to express your support for the Bill.

The full briefing document is available for download hereReligious Discrimination Bill PCA Briefing Note.pdf