This submission draws on previous WHV submissions on earlier drafts of the Religious Discrimination Bill and those of key stakeholders including the Equality Rights Alliance (ERA) and Equality Australia (EA).
As outlined in the submission, some concerning elements of previous versions of the Bill in terms of women’s health have been removed in the current draft legislation. However, WHV opposes the Bill because, firstly, it goes beyond protecting the right to freedom from discrimination on religious grounds and privileges this right above the right to freedom from discrimination based on other grounds such as sex, race and disability, and second, in doing so it overrides existing anti-discrimination legislation at the state and territory level.
WHV’s submission further endorses ERA’s recommendation that all federal anti-discrimination laws be synthesised into a single anti-discrimination act (including religious discrimination protections), and that a federal Human Rights Act be introduced, providing broader protections for human rights and allowing an intersectional approach to assessing claims where different rights come into conflict. If the Religious Discrimination Bill is to proceed, WHV recommends adopting the detailed amendments set out in EA’s submission.
This submission was put to two separate inquiries:
Download the Final Print version in PDF or Word:
Women's Health Victoria (2021) Submission to the Joint Human Rights Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 (Cth). Women's Health Victoria. Melbourne.