In response to the release of the draft Religious Discrimination Bill today, Tim O’Connor, Campaigner at Amnesty International Australia said:
“Today’s draft religious discrimination bill is a licence for religious groups to use their beliefs to condemn and attack groups in the community.
“Prime Minister Morrison should be ashamed of this piece of legislation, that takes Australia back to the dark ages by vilifying women, LGBTQI+ people, people of colour and others.”
“This act was an opportunity for the government to protect all Australians, treat everyone equally and enshrine our rights in law. Instead, it allows people to be segregated and targeted by giving religious groups permission to discriminate at will. It is barbaric to allow active discrimination based purely on a persons sexuality or gender.
“This is a total legislative failure. A religious freedom act could have been the right solution, but this falls woefully short of what is required and will not provide overarching human rights protections in Australia.
“We should instead introduce a Human Rights Act that brings together the current spaghetti bowl of legislation, and ensures that both rights to freedom of religion and other fundamental rights are protected and appropriately balanced.
“Amnesty, and many other organisations such as religious institutions and community leaders firmly believe that a Human Rights Act is the best way to and to reconcile the various discrimination and human rights laws encompassing sex, race and religion.”