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There is nothing remarkable about the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021. It follows stock standard anti-discrimination law provisions – so there should be no objection to it.

For instance…

  • It will prohibit discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity in the areas of work (including qualifying bodies and registered organisations), education, access to goods or services, or access to premises;

  • It creates balancing clauses which say that certain conduct is not discrimination. This too is unexceptional; it’s equivalent to the Labor Party being able to refuse membership to the Prime Minister Scott Morrison;

  • It says that statements of belief which are not intimidating, threatening, harassing or vilifying do not constitute discrimination under state or federal acts;

  • It allows religious educational institutions to prefer to employ people who hold a particular faith. This again is entirely unexceptional. Political parties exercise that right every day.

Significantly, the bill recognises for the first time in Commonwealth law:

“The freedom of all people to have or adopt a religion or belief of their choice, and freedom to manifest this religion or belief either individually or in community with others.” 

This is a codification of Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which is the premier international human rights covenant.   

In short, it’s a positive bill. It may not be all that religious people hoped for, but it recognises the vital role of faith in the lives of Australians and provides some essential protections for them.

For more information, watch the Prime Minister’s speech:

Take action today

Using the form below, please ask your leaders to support the bill – it will only take a couple of minutes. Some wording has been provided for you, but feel free to adjust it as you see fit. Please also write your own subject line. Be concise and respectful. 

As always...

The salutation at the start and your name at the end will both be appended automatically. Please don't add these to the letter below, eg. please do not address the email “Dear [name]”.

When you complete your name and address in the box below, your letter will be directed to your Federal MP and your Senators.  

Thank you for urging your leaders to support the Religious Discrimination Bill - so that you, and many other people of faith, have some basic protections in law.