Sex Discrimination Amendment (Removing Discrimination Against Students) Bill 2018 (Senator Wong’s Bill)
Liberty notes that the so-called religious exemptions amount to a preference or benefit for some religious groupings over others (including the growing numbers of the non-religious), which appears to contravene section 116 of the Constitution.
Insofar as the Bill removes the privilege to discriminate against students in their education at schools run by religious bodies it is whole-heartedly supported.
Freedom of religion is properly understood to mean the freedom for an individual to have, or not have, a religious belief, to join a religion and take part in its rites and rituals, or change religion, or leave a religion, and not to be discriminated against because of their having or not having a religion; and also the right of religions - taken to mean (more or less) organized groups of persons adhering to a common belief system—to coexist in society on a basis of equality with each other and with individuals or groups of no religion.
Time did not permit Liberty Victoria to address in full all aspects of the Terms of Reference for this Inquiry. Our concerns therefore centred on “3 — The relationship between the freedom of religion or belief and other human rights, and the implications of constraints on the freedom of religion or belief for the enjoyment of other universal human rights” (ToR 3). In particular we considered the balancing of freedom of religion or belief with the human right to equality. We also make some related comments on ToR 2 and ToR 4.