Canberra, Australia, Jul 10, 2019 / 12:19 pm
The religious discrimination bill proposed by Australia's coalition government is being well received generally, though some conservative members of parliament have asked instead for a religious freedom bill.
The religious discrimination bill would 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 government 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.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said July 9 that "of course we will do what we need to do from a legislative point of view," but "what all that boils down to is the culture in this country. It's not the laws that make freedom of religion work, it's the culture that accepts it."