Wed, 08 Jan 2020 - 12:59
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Religious Discrimination Bill

The Government believes that all Australians, regardless of their religious belief, should be able to fully participate in our society. The Government recognises that there is an opportunity to further enhance and better protect the freedom of religion, under Australian laws.

On this basis, the Government has committed to the introduction of a Religious Discrimination Bill. The Bill will provide comprehensive protection against discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity in specified areas of public life and follow the structure of existing federal anti-discrimination law. The Bill will create the position of a Freedom of Religion Commissioner within the Australian Human Rights Commission who will promote understanding of and compliance with the new Religious Discrimination Act.

The Religious Discrimination Bill will make it unlawful to discriminate against a person on the basis of their religious belief or activity.

This will fill a clear gap in Australia’s human rights laws. It will protect Australians from discrimination on the grounds of religious belief in the same way that they are protected from discrimination on the basis of age, sex, race or disability.

The Government will continue to work with the Opposition, crossbench and stakeholders in a consultative process which aims to allow a bipartisan agreement on the Religious Discrimination Bill which can be introduced into Parliament with broad cross-party support. We will also work with the States and Territories to ensure greater consistency across Australia in promoting and protecting freedom of religion in Australia.