Religious Discrimination Bill

It’s ‘Groundhog Day’: Religious Discrimination Bill Under Threat Again!

28 April 2023

2.9 MINS

On 4 November 2022, the Attorney-General, the Hon Mark Dreyfus MP, asked the ALRC to recommend reforms to the law to implement the Government’s policy commitment to a Religious Discrimination Bill that is consistent with Australia’s international legal obligations.

On 27 January 2023, the ALRC released its Consultation Paper for the Inquiry with Submissions to the review closing on 24 February 2023. The ALRC’s final report was due to the Attorney-General on 21 April 2023.

ALRC Final Report on Religious Education Delayed

The Attorney-General has now announced that he is extending the reporting deadline for the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) review into current exemptions to the Sex Discrimination Act that currently apply to religious schools. The final report back date has been extended to December 31.

Some months before the May election in 2022, I wrote a piece in The Spectator titled “Will the Religious Discrimination Bill See the Light of Day?”, in which I summed up as follows: “So, will the Religious Discrimination Bill see the ‘Light of Day’? – not on your nelly”. So, is there a sense of déjà vu to the Attorney-General’s announcement?

The extension is somewhat understandable given that the ALRC in late February asked for further time to consider more than 420 submissions received in response to its Consultation Paper on reform proposals, and more than 40,000 survey responses.

The issue is that this strategically well-timed announcement raises a lot of questions about the purpose and politics of the announcement. Christian Voice Australia (CVA) repeatedly sought feedback from the ALRC only to be advised that all was on track. It was unrealistic from day one to expect the 21 April deadline to be met so the Albanese government was always intending to extend the review report back date given the lack of feedback from the ALRC and the Attorney-General’s office and indeed from the Hon Mark Dreyfus MP.

What About the Religious Discrimination Bill?

As a devotee of political strategy, could it be that the Religious Discrimination Bill under Albanese will suffer the same fate as it did under Morrison? Could Labor opt for an early election late next year if ‘The Voice’ fails as it surely will?

Perhaps Machiavelli’s theory is proving to be true when he theorised that a feared leader rules by fear of punishment – in this case, the punishment of not having a Religious Discrimination Bill at all!

Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the mistake of leaving the implementation of the Religious Discrimination Bill to the eleventh hour – just months before the election – and he paid the price for biting the hands that fed him the May 2019 election win on a silver platter.

Now, Prime Minister Albanese is headed for the same fate. The PM cannot ignore the fact that Australia needs a Religious Discrimination Bill given that Christians are the most persecuted group in the world. Christianity is the most persecuted religion on the planet, writes Greg Sheridan, The Australian’s foreign editor.

The preoccupation with ‘The Voice’ for just 3.2% of the population is a slap in the face for 96.8% of Australians of which 43.9% are Christians (2021 Census) who also want their ‘voice’ heard.

It’s politically shameful the Prime Minister has dropped the ball on the promised religious discrimination review promised for 21 April.

PM Albanese spoke of his commitment to religious freedom within Australia so if the voting Christian is to believe the PM is sincere, then his government should seriously take up the savage business of religious persecution by fast-tracking the review into the religious educational institutions’ review.

Without a Religious Discrimination Bill, religious schools, particularly Christian, are set to:

  • lose their freedom to employ people of their faith,
  • be forced to employ anti-Christian and pro-LGBTIQA+ activist teachers who are hostile to the school’s biblical beliefs,
  • have the same activist teachers given the right to teach and indoctrinate beliefs hostile to the school’s moral and ethical teachings on the nature of sex, natural marriage, and family, and
  • face a human rights body that may be given authoritarian state powers to investigate religious schools for ‘systemic discrimination’ said to be the consequence of a school’s moral, ethical, and biblical worldview.

The real issue now is to what extent will the church schools, Christian organisations, and commentators accept the fact that like under Morrison, there is a sense of déjà vu with all of us facing another ‘Groundhog Day’.

Christian Voice Australia is committed to holding the Albanese government to account for its promise to have a Religious Discrimination Bill in legislation before the next election – pacta sunt servanda!


Photo by Patricia McCarty.

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  1. Kaylene Emery 29 April 2023 at 1:56 am - Reply

    The Christian Voice in Australia is a voice which is thankfully , and with the grace of God becoming the voice of Australia.
    Yours in appreciation.

  2. Ian Moncrieff 29 April 2023 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    40,000 survey responses will take a mountain of assessment. My guess is that 90% of them will be against the ALRC recommendations.. Praying for righteousness and truth to prevail.

  3. Countess Antonia Maria Violetta Scrivanich 17 November 2023 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    This is what comes of joining the United Nation which is the enemy of Christianity and which promotes evil. Time to leave ! It fulfills no useful purpose , just taxes us .

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