The Australian Christian Lobby today renewed calls for the Victorian Upper House to vote down the Andrews Government’s unjustified attack on freedom of religion when it goes before parliament this week.

ACL Victorian director Dan Flynn said if passed, the Equal Opportunity (Religious Exceptions) Bill, would significantly restrict freedom for churches or Christian schools to recruit staff that share their vision and values.

Mr Flynn said the Andrews Government was putting restrictions on churches, Christian schools and religious organisations which do not apply to political parties or other community groups.

“It is hypocritical for the Government to demand employment conditions on religious organisations and faith-based schools while exempting political parties,” he said.

“It is not discrimination for an organisation to hire people who believe in the mission of that organisation.

“The major political parties demand the freedom to recruit staff according to their beliefs and values, a freedom protected by the Equal Opportunity Act.

“The Labor Government is now seeking to deny this right to religious organisations and schools in a focused attack on freedom of religion.

“The Government has failed to justify why it is necessary to restrict the capacity of religious organisations and schools to employ staff,” Mr Flynn said.

“There has been no evidence presented by the Government that any person has ever been unfairly discriminated against by the current rights of faith communities to select staff that uphold the faith and ethos of their community.

“Sadly, the bill appears to be driven by an ideological agenda against faith-based communities.

“We expect the Bill will meet with stiff resistance in the non-Government controlled Legislative Council this week and the ACL calls on all MPs to vote down this Bill.”