First, let us thank the many Christians who do not support this proposed legislation
You may need to reconsider if you believe you and your loved ones won’t be affected by the proposed Religious Discrimination Legislation because:
The average Australian is of the opinion that the Bill is about Christians wanting:
– the freedom to say what they want, when and where they want
– pray and worship whenever and where they want.
However you must ask:
“What can’t a Christian person say now that he/she wants?”
“Where can’t they pray or worship now that he/she wants?”
Australian Christians already have Freedom of Religion, however they don’t need privilege.
“If you believe we live in a secular nation, do you want to live under the rule of conservative Christians?”
If you believe in equality you will not be in favour of this proposed legislation because (1) it overrides every States anti discrimination legislation (2) Ruddock Religious Review was not in favour of the legislation (3) Business organisations and Unions are not in favour (4) St Vincent’s DePaul does not want to be associated with negative religious groups (5) we are a Christian nation, but the majority do not want this proposed legislation.
The impact on everyday Australians
The Bill will prevent an employer from imposing a ‘conduct rule’, such as a term in an employment contract or code of conduct, that prevents an employee from making a statement of religious belief either at or outside of work. Eg Foleau
People from diverse cultures are concerned for those who wear clothing and headgear that identifies them as Sikh, Muslim etc. As a nation, we need to ensure racism is not encouraged and fear kept to a minimum about Muslims being seen as terrorists.
As a nation, we need to ensure that all religions are recognised and protected. This legislation is a priority directed towards Christians.
The efforts of large employers to create inclusive, diverse and culturally safe workplaces will be even further undermined. Those with a revenue of at least $50 million will only be able to prevent employees from making public statements outside of work that offend, humiliate, intimidate, insult or ridicule others where those statements would cause the employer‘unjustifiable financial hardship
As a result, commendable efforts by large employers to promote safe, diverse and inclusive workplaces will be significantly undermined by the Bill. The difficulty of proving that an employer satisfies the exception may also discourage employers from continuing those efforts.
Employers would need to demonstrate that a conduct rule is reasonable which will be difficult to achieve. This will in turn create increasingly unsafe and dysfunctional workplaces with the potential to impact rates of employment for women and people in minorities and create and/or exacerbate mental health concerns.
Australia’s Muslim community is urging the Morrison government to redraft its religious discrimination laws to include an anti-vilification provision, saying incitement of hatred and violence is a “fundamental threat to Australian Muslims”.
It is difficult to fully predict the spectrum of conscientious objections on the basis of religious belief that might arise; however, it is clear that the Bill will operate broadly in favour of health practitioners.
Health practitioners can conscientiously object to providing a health service to:
an LGBTIQ+ person, whatever the health service, including treatment for the flu
a woman seeking a prescription (or to fill her prescription) for birth control
general sexual health care for both males and females can be withheld by health practitioners
IVF can be refused to married couples
A hysterectomy can be refused to women of child bearing age, regardless of need
Females and males can be refused contraception by medical practitioners
Termination of pregnancy (regardless of why needed) can be refused without any onward referrals
Vasectomies can be refused by medical practitioners
Pharmacists will have the right to refuse to sell contraceptives making it costly and time consuming for women by forcing them to travel distance if in regional areas