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Freedom from Discrimination
Pages tagged "Attorney-General"
Garrick Professor of Law James Allan on the Political Spot about proposed changes to Racial Discrimination Act
· November 12, 2013 11:00 AM
Garrick Professor of Law James Allan is from the University of Queensland. In this interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman he talks about the proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act. Attorney-General George Brandis plans on introducing laws into parliament that repeal the offending and insulating parts of Section 18C of the Act. Columnist Andrew Bolt was found to have contravened the act in September 2011 for two opinion pieces he wrote which implied light-skinned people who identified as Aboriginal did so for personal gain. Professor Allan believes the changes should go further and repeal all four provisions: offending, insulting, humiliation and intimidation.
MR: AG’s call for another vote on same-sex marriage ludicrous
· April 22, 2013 10:00 AM
22 April 2013
Calls by Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus for yet another vote to redefine marriage should be rejected.
“Despite the hype, this issue is not on the average Australian’s top ten list of priorities, including members of the left leaning GetUp group,” Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Jim Wallace said today.
Mr Wallace said the Australian Parliament had spent an inordinate amount of time on this issue.
Three parliamentary inquiries were held within three years with same-sex marriage not supported by two of them.
In response to a Greens’ motion, Federal MPs surveyed their electorates with the overwhelming majority reporting back to Parliament it was not supported by their constituents.
After almost two years of public and parliamentary debate, the Australian Parliament just last September rejected redefining marriage by a margin of almost two to one (98-42 in the House of Representatives and 41-26 in the Senate).
Mr Wallace said MPs were being bullied into conformism on same-sex marriage when the issue simply did not rate in the electorate.
Despite New Zealand’s passing of legislation to redefine marriage, public support for it fell during their debate from
Mr Wallace said Mr Dreyfus’ push for a vote before the election would mean it would need to be held before June 27.
“It is ludicrous that the nation’s top law officer is pushing for a second vote on the same issue within months of its decisive rejection. How many other issues get this sort of special treatment by Parliament?
“Proponents of redefining marriage are determined to achieve their aim through legislation by fatigue. How much more of the Parliament’s time should be spent on this?”
Mr Wallace said supporters of same-sex marriage recognised that even with a Coalition conscience vote, the numbers in the Federal Parliament are well short of backing a redefinition of marriage.
“I would urge the Liberal Party to hold its policy position supporting marriage between a man and a woman. People are looking to the major parties to provide leadership and expect that they understand what marriage truly is.
“They do not expect the Coalition in particular to take up an agenda mainly run by the Socialist groups, whose banners seem to dominate almost every rally on the subject and who most likely vote Greens.”
Lyle Shelton discusses anti-discrimination legislation on the Political Spot
· March 26, 2013 11:00 AM
Lyle Shelton is the Chief of Staff at the Australian Christian Lobby. In this interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman he discusses the government's decision to delay introducing legislation to consolidate anti-discrimination legislation. Mr Shelton said it's a good decision because the laws went further than consolidating existing laws and impacted on religious freedom.
MR: ACL welcomes government’s decision to delay anti-discrimination legislation
· March 20, 2013 11:00 AM
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed today’s announcement by Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus to rework consolidating anti-discrimination laws.
Managing Director Jim Wallace said what had started as a sensible consolidation of anti-discrimination laws into one had gone well off track threatening freedom of religion and other fundamental human rights.
“ACL denounces the overreach in this exercise and particularly the uncertainty around religious freedom exemptions and the proposal to review them every three years," he said.
“Christian schools, charities, hospitals and churches should always be free to positively discriminate in the hiring of staff in order to protect their ethos and in determining what services they deliver.
“It is the shared faith ethos of an organisation’s people that make it an attractive charity or service provider and our society would become sterile if this diversity was lost,” Mr Wallace said.
The ACL made a submission to the government’s consolidation of Anti-Discrimination laws in December 2012 calling for the religious freedoms to be protected
In January 2013 former Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said conduct that insults or offends will be removed from legislation. ACL said threats to religious freedom still remained.
In February 2013 the senate committee investigating the laws recommended removing religious exemptions and exceptions from the law. ACL urged the government to reject the recommendation.
Jim Wallace on the Political Spot
· February 26, 2013 11:00 AM
Jim Wallace is the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby. He spoke to the ACL's Katherine Spackman about the proposed anti-discrimination laws. The senate inquiry into the bill recommended removing religious exemptions. The Attorney-General at the weekend
dismissed the idea of removing religious exemptions.
MR: Threats to religious freedoms still remain in anti-discrimination bill
· January 31, 2013 11:00 AM
Thursday, 31st January 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby welcomes the decision from the Attorney-General Nicola Roxon to remove conduct that offends from the draft anti-discrimination bill but warns concerns still remain about religious freedom.
Ms Roxon announced that her department will be given the option to remove section 19(2)(b) of the draft bill, a section which would prohibit conduct that “offends, insults or intimidates”.
But ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said more needs to be changed in order to provide adequate protection for freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
“The removal of the ‘offends or insults’ section, while a positive step, does not completely remove the threats to freedom of religion this bill poses - particularly in Section 23, 32 and 33,” Mr Wallace said.
“Currently the exemptions are too narrow in their protection of religious freedom.
“Just as any political party can choose employees who share the aims of the party - churches, Christians schools and other faith-based organisations must be confident they can choose staff who will uphold the ethos of the organisation.
“They should be able to retain their right to employ staff who are committed to upholding the tenets and beliefs of the organisation – no matter what their role.
“Also Section 3 of the Act needs to be amended to acknowledge freedom of religion as a fundamental right, as it is in international human rights law with the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),” he said.
Mr Wallace added that even with the removal of section 19(2)(b) the bill still represents an extension of anti-discrimination law.
“The bill expands the number of attributes protected under current anti-discrimination law from four – race, sex, disability and age – to 18,” he said.
“Whilst religion is included as a protected attribute, it’s only protected in work and work-related areas whereas most of the other attributes are protected in ‘any area of public life’.
“This places religion at a lower priority for protection in government policy when it should be afforded at least the same protection as other attributes.
“The aim for non-discrimination must be balanced against the right to freedom of religion.”
MR: ACL concurs with discrimination concerns raised by media submission
· January 10, 2013 11:00 AM
For release: Thursday, January 10, 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today concurred with concerns raised by the media companies over the draft Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill put forward by Attorney General Nicola Roxon, concerns also reflected in its submission.
Managing Director of the ACL, Mr Jim Wallace, said that “while the move to consolidate, clarify, and simplify five different commonwealth laws is welcome, the draft Bill goes well beyond consolidation and would increase the reach of current laws, further impinging on freedom of religion and freedom of speech.”
“The joint submission by the media companies has rightly pointed out the increasing reach of this Bill to include conduct that offends or insults,” said Mr Wallace. “In addition to this, unlawful discrimination is defined subjectively as ‘unfavourable treatment’, with the onus of proof on the one who has supposedly offended or insulted while there is no definition of what constitutes “ harassment”, something the draft looks to target.”
“The exposure draft creates too many vulnerabilities for people of faith and faith-based institutions and will need radical redrafting,” said Mr Wallace.
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