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Wednesday, 26 November 1986
Page: 2825

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Resources and Energy)(9.27) —I move:

Page 4, clause 3, lines 10 and 11, leave out ``but does not include any distinction, exclusion or preference in respect of a particular job based on the inherent requirements of the job;'', insert ``but does not include any distinction, exclusion or preference:

(c) in respect of a particular job based on the inherent requirements of the job; or

(d) in connection with employment as a member of the staff of an institution that is conducted in accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings of a particular religion or creed, being a distinction, exclusion or preference made in good faith in order to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of adherents of that religion or that creed;''.

I have explained previously the purport of the amendment. It is essentially to recognise, without acknowledging the necessity of, the concern the Australian Episcopal Conference in respect of educational, hospital and welfare institutions. The Government's amendment simply attempts to resolve a possible doubt as to the operation of the test in the relevant article of the International Labour Organisation Convention in respect of the inherent requirements of a particular job. As I have said, the Government doubts the need for any additional clarification at this point in this context but it is prepared to clarify the matter further in respect of religious institutions because of the concern that has been expressed. I repeat that we believe-I have said this before in the debate-that such an exemption should be left relatively narrow so we do not start significantly derogating from the terms of the Convention.