RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM REVIEW
1. Existing laws that create exemptions in anti-discrimination laws for religious bodies – with respected to race, disability, pregnancy or intersex status – should be reviewed in line with community expectations.
2. The Siracusa Principles – UN criteria to determine if protections exist when rights are restricted – should be considered when drafting laws that would limit the right to freedom of religion.
3. Clauses should be considered in anti-discrimination legislation to reflect the equal status in international law of all human rights, including freedom of religion.
4. Commonwealth charity laws should clarify that advocacy of a ‘traditional’ view of marriage would not, of itself, amount to a ‘disqualifying purpose’.
5. Commonwealth sex discrimination laws should be amended so religious schools can discriminate against staff and contractors on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status – if based on religious teachings.
6. Any exceptions to such laws should be abolished.
7. Commonwealth sex discrimination laws should be amended so religious schools can discriminate against students on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status – if based on religious teachings and the best interests of the child is the primary consideration.
8. Any exceptions should be abolished.
9. Policies should be developed for when parents can remove their children from classrooms if they are being taught about topics which are inconsistent with their religious beliefs.
10. The Attorney-General should update information for marriage celebrants regarding religious protections made available to them.
11. The Attorney-General should consider updating the marriage regulations code of practice to suit the needs of smaller and emerging religious bodies.
12. Draft laws should be progressed to “make it clear” that religious schools don’t have to make their facilities available, or provide goods or services, for any marriage – if the refusal is based on religious beliefs or is necessary to prevent followers from being offended.
13. All remaining offences of blasphemy should be abolished.
14. Regulations should be changed so ships can’t have offensive names.
15. Commonwealth laws should make it unlawful to discriminate against a person’s religious belief or activity, even if that person does not hold religious beliefs. Exceptions should be considered for religious bodies, schools and charities.
16. NSW and SA should change their laws so it’s unlawful to discriminate against a person’s religious belief or activity, even if that person does not hold any religious belief. Exceptions should be considered for religious bodies, schools and charities.
17. The federal government should collect and analyse incidents when people in the community are exposed to violence, harassment and discrimination because of their faith.
18. A religious engagement and public education program should be developed about human rights and religion in Australia, including the importance of the right to freedom of religion and belief.
19. The Australian Human Rights Commission should take a leading role in protecting freedom of religion through increased community engagement.
20. The prime minister and attorney-general should take leadership of the recommendations.
(Source: Religious Freedom Review, Fairfax Media)
© AAP 2018