Submission to Legal & Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry into the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 and Related Bills

PWDA has made a submission to the Legal & Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee (Legcon) Inquiry into the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 and Related Bills.

This submission followed our public opposition, along with many other social sector organisations, of earlier drafts of the legislation in an open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

PWDA also gave a statement on this topic at a Senate Hearing on 21 January 2022. Read our opening statement here.

PWDA supports fair and equal anti-discrimination laws which equally protect all of us, including people with disability, people of faith and those who are not religious, alongside other groups. Equally we note that all states and territories have existing legislation to prohibit religious discrimination.

Given that we understand the draft legislation is now complete we hold some concerns with the second part of the Bill including the statement of belief provision and religious exemptions.

We urge the Australian Government to ensure that any religious discrimination legislation it considers, or passes does not remove existing discrimination protections or undermine Australians’ access to non-judgemental healthcare.

If any religious discrimination legislation passes it must ensure all our workers, students, customers and clients are equally protected from discrimination, no matter who they are, whom they love or what they believe. It must not privilege the rights and beliefs of one group over another. It must be alive to the real harm caused by divisive and discriminatory rhetoric that undermines the inclusive organisations and society that we have attempted to build together. It must not take us backwards.

Unless any religious discrimination Bill protects all of us, equally, or people with disability specifically, PWDA simply cannot support it.

Read PWDA’s full submission below.