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Wednesday, 26 November 1986
Page: 2826

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Resources and Energy)(9.28) —I have explained previously that this is really just an elaboration of the concept of inherent requirements of the job which we have previously debated, which appears in Article 1--

Senator Walters —You know that is a lot of rubbish.

Senator GARETH EVANS —We do not concede that it is a lot of rubbish but, since the bishops conference has taken the view that it really would prefer not to have religious schools, hospitals and welfare institutions subjected to any conceivable uncertainty at all about what the inherent requirements in terms of religious belief and commitment are for the occupancy of jobs in those institutions, we have indicated a willingness to accommodate those views. It is a gloss upon the language of Article 1.2, which says:

Any distinction, exclusion or preference in respect of a particular job based on the inherent requirements thereof shall not be deemed to be discrimination.

If Senator Walters does not like us attempting to be conciliatory to accommodate a concern, I suppose we will go back in our shell. Given the way in which Senator Harradine and others were pressing the concern of the bishops and since we did not want to generate any unnecessary uncertainty, we have reacted accordingly. I hope we will have some gracious acknowledgment of that.