Unions Tasmania's submission to the Australian Government opposes the draft Religious Freedom Bills.
These Bills will remove existing protections for Tasmanians to live a life free from discrimination. The Bills unjustifiably privilege religious belief over all others. It is contrary to basic principles of human rights law to privilege one category of rights over another. The Religious Freedom Bills privilege the right to freedom of religion over the right to equality and non-discrimination.
The RDA also explicitly seeks to override the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act 1998, specifically s17(1), despite Attorney-General Porter’s promise in July this year that any new laws would not seek to override state or territory legislation. The Tasmanian Act has served Tasmanians well since its introduction in 1998. Unions Tasmania does not support any legislation that seeks to weaken or override the existing protections afforded by our anti-discrimination laws.
Unions Tasmania cannot support legislation that seeks to override the Tasmanian Act and remove existing protections for workers and all Tasmanians.
Unions Tasmania notes that Australia does not have a Human Rights Act. Instead of pursuing the Religious Freedom Bills, we suggest that a pathway to progressing human rights reform in this country would be to commence a consultation process with all states and territories on a national Human Rights Act.
Read our full submission below.