Help Protect Religious Freedom in SA

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If you live in South Australia, your participation in this email campaign will have a positive impact on securing religious freedom protections for our State.  

Religious freedom could be undermined in South Australia if our Parliament doesn’t act decisively. 

Currently, no protections for the freedom of religion exist in South Australia or Australia – despite our international obligations to implement such protections. These obligations are described in Article 18 of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). 

In December, the South Australian Parliament’s Social Development Committee established an inquiry into the need for a Human Rights Bill. 

We would expect a Human Rights Bill to bring further protections to religious freedom. However, similar Bills in Victoria, the ACT, and Queensland, have done the opposite – significantly watering down the standard of protection required by international law. They have also tended to redefine the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion altogether. This has devalued religious freedom and expanded the reach of anti-discrimination rights. Now, South Australia is at risk of its Parliament doing the same.  

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It is critical that we lobby the South Australian Parliament to protect religious freedom by asking them to prioritise religious freedom in any Human Rights Act and draft the Bill differently to other States. Religious freedom must include, among others: 

  • The right to preach in accordance with the Bible 
  • The right to proselytise, discuss, and teach religious or moral beliefs that might otherwise be labelled as ‘discriminatory’ or ‘hate speech’ 
  • The right of parents to provide their children with religious and moral education, in accordance with their religion or belief 
  • The right of parents to choose an alternative to public schooling for their children 

Recently, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) proposed a national Human Rights Act. In a similar vein to interstate Human Rights Bills and Charters, this proposal downgrades the level of protection afforded to religious freedom by the ICCPR. For example, it does not include any protections for the liberty of parents to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in accordance with their convictions.    

Other concerns with the AHRC’s proposal include significant upgrades to anti-discrimination provisions, and the fact that it has subjected many rights to a “limitations clause”, which means rights can be restricted to a much greater extent than what international law prescribes.  

It is likely the South Australian Parliament will consider the AHRC’s proposal, and legislation in Victoria, Queensland, and the ACT, highly persuasive when framing provisions for a potential Human Rights Bill. For this reason, it is important we provide the Committee with strong advocacy on the issue of religious freedom.  

You can read the terms of reference for the South Australian Parliament’s Inquiry here.  

Follow the prompts below to send an urgent email to the Committee, Hon Ian Hunter, Hon Robert Simms, Ms Dana Wortley, Ms Penny Pratt, Hon David Pisoni, & Hon Mira El Dannawi.

It will only take a couple of minutes.

Wording has been provided but feel free to adjust as you see fit. Be concise and respectful.