Australian government limits scope of report on anti-discrimination laws
FREE Catholic Classes
A hearing of the Australian Senate was told Tuesday that the government had narrowed the purview of an independent inquiry into the effect of anti-discrimination laws on religious schools and organizations.
Canberra, Australia, (CNA) - A hearing of the Australian Senate was told Tuesday that the government had narrowed the purview of an independent inquiry into the effect of anti-discrimination laws on religious schools and organizations.
The government had asked the Australian Law Reform Commission in April to report on how to balance competing claims of religious freedom rights and LGBT rights. In recent years, Australia has seen debate over religious freedom with respect to the seal of the confessional, hiring decisions, and same-sex marriage.
Sarah Derrington, president of the ALRC, told a Senate hearing Oct. 22 that the government had in August limited the commission's field of inquiry and delayed its report.
"The terms of reference as originally drafted were quite narrow in any event but they are narrower again," she said, according to the AAP.
The ALRC was to have published a discussion paper on its findings in November, but the government directed that it be pushed back at least eight months.
It was also told to confine its recommendation to laws other than the religious discrimination bill, and ensure that legislation on sex discrimination and employment are consistent with the bill.
Derrington said that as a result, she has paused the commission's inquiry.
The religious discrimination bill is intended make it unlawful to discriminate against people on the ground of their religious belief or activity; establish a religious freedom commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission; and amend existing laws regarding religious freedom, including marriage and charities law, and objects clauses in anti-discrimination law.
The coalition government, which is led by the Liberal Party and includes the National Party, wants to make religious belief and activity a protected class, like race or sex. It also hopes to ensure that groups rejecting same-sex marriage are not stripped of their charitable status.
The bill has faced criticism from both religious groups and LGBT advocates.
Freedom for Faith, a Christian legal think tank, said in September that the bill would have unintended consequences, and urged that it be re-drafted before it is passed.
Among its objections to the bill was that "it does not make much sense to create new exemptions in legislation at the same time as two organisations that report to the Attorney are busily working to reduce or eliminate them," in reference to the work of the ALRC and the Australian Human Rights Commission.
The Australian bishops' conference has said that while the religious discrimination bill shows promise, it does not do enough to safeguard religious freedom.
Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
The New Zealand Parliament voted in favor of legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide Wednesday, sending the bill to a referendum next ... continue reading
The Australian High Court announced Wednesday that Cardinal George Pell's application for special leave to appeal has been refferred to the ... continue reading
An award named after Mother Teresa was given this week for outstanding efforts in social justice to a U.S.-based non-profit that has ... continue reading
Two former employees of the cathedral school in Melbourne, Australia are expressing strong doubts about the charges that landed Cardinal ... continue reading
Chinese authorities have offered a compensation to a Catholic community for the destruction of their church. The offer comes after ... continue reading
Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.