For release: April 15, 2010

The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed a commitment from Victorian Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu that if elected a Coalition Government would introduce legislation that would effectively fix the draconian provisions in the Brumby Government's Equal Opportunity Bill in relation to religious organisations and the sweeping new powers being given to the Equal Opportunity Commission.

Mr Baillieu confirmed the Coalition parties' commitment when he met with ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace and ACL Victorian Director Rob Ward together with Shadow Attorney-General Robert Clark, at Parliament House in Melbourne yesterday.

Mr Ward said churches, Christian schools and religious charities would breathe easier without the 'big brother' investigative powers the Bill grants the Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission.

And allowing religious organisations the same freedom that political parties enjoy to employ people who shared their ethos was also welcome.

“We hope the Government will look seriously at today's commitment by the Opposition and amend the Bill so religious groups are not looking over their shoulder,” Mr Ward said.

“It is ludicrous that the Commission could be given powers of investigation when no complaint has been made and that churches and Christian schools would not be free to hire people who reflect their ethos as a matter of course in the same way political parties do.”

Media Contact: Rob Ward 0408 348 352.