Religious Freedoms Review: The ‘right to discriminate’ exemptions must go

Responding to news that all 20 recommendations of the report of the Religious Freedoms Review have been leaked to media, Amnesty International Australia’s Advocacy Manager Emma Bull said:

“The Ruddock Review has made 20 recommendations when it really only needed to make one to have the same outcome: implement a national Human Rights Act.

What has been very clear in recent days is that there is little public support for schools to be able to turn away LGBT children. What Amnesty International wants are laws that protect our right to hold a religion, but limit the so-called right to discriminate. This would be best implemented by a Human Rights Act.

Recommendation 15 calls for a Religious Discrimination Act which could address some of the unanswered questions that are worrying the community. But debate over the past few days has shown that there is little public support for the exemptions that the review recommends.

Organisations which provide education or services should not be exempt from anti-discrimination laws – they should provide for all Australians on an equal basis.

A national Human Rights Act would more comprehensively address these issues.

The Government has had the report for four months now and the delay in releasing it is unreasonable. The Government must now release it, and its response to it, in full.”