Religious discrimination

We’re working to ensure that people can still practice their religious beliefs without discriminating against LGBTIQ+ people.

Expert panel on Religious freedoms

In 2017, shortly after the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey that allowed same-sex couples to marry, the Commonwealth government established an Expert Panel to examine whether Australian law adequately protects the human right to freedom of religion. SARAA made a submission to the panel arguing that:

  • Religious people and expression of religion is not under attack, LGBTIQ+ community is.
  • Religious freedom is already protected
  • The postal survey outcome voted for fairness not more discrimination

Draft Religious Discrimination Bill 2019 (Cth)

In 2019, the Commonwealth government released the draft Religious Discrimination Bill 2019 (Cth) in response to the Expert Panel’s recommendations. SARAA made a submission opposing the Bill arguing that it:

  • provides a license to discriminate in the name of religious beliefs
  • undermines efforts to create inclusive workplaces
  • jeopardises access to healthcare for LGBTIQ people and others
  • allows government funded charities to discriminate
  • Lacks definitions and clarity around reasonableness tests 
  • creates a Religious Freedoms Commissioner which is not required

Second draft Religious Discrimination Bill 2019 (Cth)

Throughout 2019 SARAA consulted with over 200 South Australians who believe the Bill will adversely impact them. This community engagement informed our submission on the 2nd exposure draft of the Bill, released in December 2019. In our submission on the 2nd draft exposure Bill, SARAA argued that the Bill should be abandoned or and an Australian Charter of Human Rights developed, or the Bill should be refined to:

  • not undermine the ability of employers to provide inclusive workplaces for employees and customers
  • allow qualifying bodies to continue to safeguard the integrity of their relevant profession
  • ensure no one is disadvantaged or harmed through the introduction of conscientious objection provisions
  • not allow religious charities to discriminate in the provision of taxpayer funded services 
  • remove the license to discriminate in the name of religious beliefs allowed by clause 42.

We’ll continue to advocate to ensure this Bill protects the health and rights of LGBTIQ+ South Australians.

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