The Human Rights Commission is warning the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill will give rights to some at the expense of others.
The Commission outlined its fears of potential “undesirable consequences” in its submission to the Attorney-General.
Human Rights Commission argues human rights are for everyone
The AHRC backs some of the proposals, however, it says the Bill also contains a series of fundamental flaws.
For example, it says giving protection to religious belief or activity will result in an “unintended” cost to some in the community.
In the submission, Commission President Rosalind Croucher (pictured) said:
“The Commission has advocated for more than 20 years for a Bill to protect against religious discrimination.
“However, it is important that our laws do not give preference to one human right over others.”
Laws can’t overide existing laws
Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow also added:
“Our law should not permit discriminatory religious statements to override all other Australian anti-discrimination laws.
“Human rights are for everyone. They are also indivisible and universal.”
Additionally, the submission states:
“The Commission is concerned… the Bill will provide protection to religious belief or activity at the expense of other rights.
“The scope of the Bill is overly broad in defining who may be a victim of religious discrimination and, therefore, too narrow in defining who may be found to have engaged in religious discrimination.”
Furthermore, it describes a series of aspects within the draft legislation as inherently flawed.
“The Bill … includes a number of unique provisions having no counterpart in other anti-discrimination laws and also appear to be designed to address high-profile individual cases.
“The Commission considers this will therefore lead to unintended and undesirable consequences.”
No one has the right to discriminate
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from Human Rights Claims says one person’s human rights should not trump another’s.
“Religious organisations have no right to exemptions from laws the rest of us abide by, for example, schools and hospitals,” he said.
“And furthermore, their right to hold a belief should not outweigh the right of someone else to not be discriminated against.”
To contact our team at Human Rights Claims, please call
To connect with us, please follow us on