What the faith discrimination bill means

The government has introduced laws it says will protect people of faith from discrimination.
The government has introduced laws it says will protect people of faith from discrimination.


* It prohibits discrimination on the basis of someone's religious beliefs across a wide range of areas including employment, education, the provision of goods, and access to facilities and services.

* It overwrites state legislation, including proposed Victorian laws to limit when schools and organisations can preference hiring people according to faith.

* Religious schools must make these kinds of policies available publicly.

* The bill includes a "statement of belief" clause to protect people who communicate genuinely held religious views.

* Malicious statements or those considered by a reasonable person to threaten, intimidate, harass or vilify people or groups of people are not covered

* The bill does not affect the operation of other federal anti-discrimination legislation or allow discrimination on the basis of currently protected attributes.

* Accompanying amendments establish a standalone religious discrimination commissioner under the Australian Human Rights Commission.


* It is not discriminatory for a religious primary school to require all of its staff and students to practice its faith, should this be necessary "to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of people of that religion".

* A Catholic holiday camp, for example, can prohibit non-Christian groups from hiring its accommodation or facilities if this is a publicly stated policy in good faith and in line with the religion's doctrines, tenets, beliefs and teachings. But should the camp accept an application from a Protestant group, it would be unlawful to restrict that group's access to parts of that facility.

Source: Federal Government

Australian Associated Press