Media Release

Government Attempt to Attack Australians of Faith Won’t Cut It 

The Albanese government waited until the very last day to reveal the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) report on Religious Educational Institutions and Anti-Discrimination Laws.  

Commenting on this, the Australian Christian Lobby’s (ACL) CEO, Michelle Pearse, said, “The government has had this report for months but have kept it under wraps, refusing to discuss its contents with major stakeholders including faith-based schools, faith leaders and the Opposition. This may be because the recommendations of the ALRC Report sound the death knell to Christian and faith-based schools and institutions in Australia.   

“The Attorney-General’s speech in Parliament, when tabling the report, makes it clear that the Labor Government will seek to attack the aspirations of millions of Australians of faith and no faith who pay for their kids to be educated in faith-based schools. Rather than supporting these working Australians and their kids, the Labor Government is intent on driving a dagger into the heart of faith-based schooling. Labor’s un-Australian attack on working Australians of faith must be rejected.  

“The Labor government has made no attempt to collaborate on the recommendations from the ALRC report despite its significant role in the formation of their Religious Discrimination legislation which has also been kept secret.   

“We, along with other religious leaders, were incredulous to hear the Prime Minister say he would not proceed with his promised Religious Discrimination Bill, unless there was agreement from the Opposition Leader. How can there be bi-partisan support when there has been no collaboration, and when, at the time of this announcement, the Opposition had not even seen the proposed bill?”  

Ms Pearse continued, “The Opposition have now been briefed on the Religious Discrimination Bill and I have spoken with Senator Michaelia Cash. From what I hear, I am shocked at what appears to be a calculated betrayal of Christian schools and organisations.   

“The government’s bill together with the removal of religious exemptions in the Sex Discrimination Act provide no clarity to Christian Schools and leaves any claims made against them to be determined by a courts interpretation of murky legislation.”   

“What’s even more shocking, despite having kept stakeholders, Religious Leaders and the Opposition in the dark over their plans to cut the legs out from underneath them, the Albanese Government now expects agreement for a quick passage of their flawed Religious Discrimination Bill. It’s simply not good enough.”   

The ACL urges the Opposition Leader to remain steadfast in rejecting the bills until a proper inquiry is held to allow stakeholders the opportunity to discuss and collaborate.  

Ms Pearse concluded, “Significant changes must be made to the Sex Discrimination Act proposed amendments and the Religious Discrimination bill before the Opposition should consider bi-partisan support.” 

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