Thu, 02 Dec 2021 - 13:06
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Religious Discrimination Bill 2021

The Morrison Government takes seriously the issue of discrimination against Australians on the grounds of their religious beliefs. The Morrison Government believes that all Australians, regardless of their religious belief, should be able to fully participate in our society within the framework of Australian law. The Government recognises that there is an opportunity to further enhance and better protect freedom of religion under Australian laws.

As you may be aware, at the 2019 Federal Election the Morrison Government committed to addressing the issue of religious freedoms. The Government is keeping faith with that commitment in a calm and considered process, with the aim that any reform is fit-for-purpose and is in the best interests of Australians. This is why the Government has conducted two rounds of public consultation on draft legislation and met face to face with over 90 stakeholders in a series of roundtables.

We have sought to hear from all sides of the Australian community and remain committed to addressing this very important issue.

For this reason, the Government has prepared a package of draft legislation to implement recommendations from the May 2018 report of the Expert Panel to the Religious Freedom Review, including a Religious Discrimination Bill. The Government conducted extensive consultations in 2019 and 2020 on the proposed legislation, including roundtable discussions and meetings with interested stakeholders. Approximately 13,000 submissions were received.

The right to freedom of religion is one right among many others, and must co-exist with the broad suite of human rights, including the right to equality and non-discrimination.

The Religious Discrimination Bill will ensure that religious belief and activity is protected in the same manner as other existing attributes covered by anti-discrimination law, including race, age, disability, and sex.