The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed Attorney-General Cash’s statement in an interview with Greg Bondar yesterday that a repeal of section 38(3) of the Sex Discrimination Act had not been promised to certain Liberal MPs, to obtain their support for the long-awaited Religious Discrimination Bill.
The Religious Discrimination Bill seeks to protect people of faith from discrimination on the basis of their religion in daily life, including work, education, buying goods and services and accessing accommodation.
Acting Managing Director, Dan Flynn said,
“Senator Cash is right to clarify that the matters covered in the Religious Discrimination Bill and the Sex Discrimination Bill are separate and that the appropriate avenue to consider exemptions to the Sex Discrimination Act is through the Australian Law Reform Commission.
“If Section 38(3) of the SDA were traded away for political support for an unrelated bill this would invite a significant electoral reaction by the faith communities.
“Such a deal would threaten the ability of Christian schools to operate in accordance with their religious ethos and will expose them to attacks by anti-religious activists. For example, standard Christian teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman may be said to cause detriment to a same sex attracted student, and so the public dissemination of that teaching in a school may be illegal.
“LGBT advocates have been keen to block protections from discrimination, based on religious belief and activity, with the unfounded claim that faith-based schools might expel children simply because they are same sex attracted. There is no evidence of such expulsions in any faith-based schools in Australia.
“Human Rights will be on the agenda when ACL’s National Director of Politics, Wendy Francis appears at the Joint Committee on Human Rights at Parliament House next Tuesday 21 December to advance the rights of Australians who experience discrimination for their religion or religious views."