8 July 2019
Reports today show that the Commonwealth Attorney-General plans to include a clause in the forthcoming Religious Discrimination Bill that would prevent employers providing a safe workplace for all people.
“Anti-discrimination laws should be a shield, not a sword. It sounds like the Government’s proposal would prevent employers from being able to protect their businesses from the damaging public actions of employees”, said Lee Carnie*, Director of Legal Advocacy at Equality Australia.
“Employers should be able to provide workplaces for all employees that are safe, healthy, and inclusive. The examples given by the Attorney-General show that he plans to go further with religious discrimination laws to interfere with employers’ ability to uphold their values”.
Noting the references made to Israel Folau’s case, Carnie said that it was up to the courts to determine the facts of the Rugby Australia case, not the Attorney-General.
“It is imperative that we see the Bill the Attorney-General is referring to. This drip feed of incomplete information is causing panic for the communities who could be targeted by this law, such as single mums, divorced people, women and LGBTIQ+ people”, said Carnie.
Equality Australia, women’s advocacy group Fair Agenda, and affirming faith organisations are calling on the government to meet with affected communities to discuss the Religious Discrimination Bill.
*uses they/them pronouns
MEDIA CONTACT: Hayley Conway, 0484 313 466