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AG's religious discrimination proposal would stop employers from providing safe workplaces

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8 July 2019

Reports today show that the Commonwealth Attorney-General plans to include

a clause in the forthcoming Religious Discrimination Bill that would prevent

employers providing a safe workplace for all people.

“Anti-discrimination laws should be a shield, not a sword. It sounds like the

Government’s proposal would prevent employers from being able to protect

their businesses from the damaging public actions of employees”, said Lee

Carnie*, Director of Legal Advocacy at Equality Australia.

“Employers should be able to provide workplaces for all employees that are

safe, healthy, and inclusive. The examples given by the Attorney-General show

that he plans to go further with religious discrimination laws to interfere with

employers’ ability to uphold their values”.

Noting the references made to Israel Folau’s case, Carnie said that it was up to

the courts to determine the facts of the Rugby Australia case, not the Attorney-General.

“It is imperative that we see the Bill the Attorney-General is referring to. This

drip feed of incomplete information is causing panic for the communities who

could be targeted by this law, such as single mums, divorced people, women

and LGBTIQ+ people”, said Carnie.

Equality Australia, women’s advocacy group Fair Agenda, and affirming faith

organisations are calling on the government to meet with affected communities

to discuss the Religious Discrimination Bill.

*uses they/them pronouns

MEDIA CONTACT: Hayley Conway, 0484 313 466