The New Australian Religious Discrimination Bill

For far too long, homophobia, transphobia, and queerphobia have been disguised under religious freedom, and with this new Australian bill, it seems like we are just adding kerosene to fire at this point. I’m not religious at all, I grew up in a religious household, but I didn’t really vibe with religion. I am an atheist, but I respect anyone’s religious belief because you do you, and I’ll do me.

As long as your faith isn’t infringing on my rights, I’m a-okay with it. But this bill is making the waters murkier and can water down the little protection us minorities still have. This is why liberal protesters and LGBTQIA+ groups alike are protesting this bill. So, let’s learn a bit more about it.

What is the new religious discrimination bill?


This particular bill prohibits discrimination in certain areas of the Australian public life on the basis of religious belief or activity. I mean, this is great and all if it means that Muslim individuals can pray in their workplace or a public area without being harassed. But the line between religion and discrimination against other minorities starts to be blurred with this particular bill.

This bill will strictly prohibit both direct and indirect discrimination that includes anything from treating people less favorable because of their religious belief/practice (France’s anti-Muslim or rather anti-hijab or headcovers, we are looking at you here) to actual hate crimes.


This new bill will also set a set of conduct on the workplace and the bill sets to have “the effect of restricting or preventing [a] person from making a statement of belief.” This will strictly prohibit any discrimination based on one’s religious practice and untasteful jokes.

However, this bill also states that religious beliefs do not constitute discrimination under the current Australian territories and state anti-discrimination laws. Section 17 of the Anti-Discrimination Act in Tasmania prohibits speech that humiliates, offends, and insults one based on their race, disability, age, or sex.

Religious schools and the new religious discrimination bill


This will make religious schools become tyrants as they will be able to hire and fire someone based on their religious beliefs and sexual orientation (if that goes against their religious beliefs). Again, I’m all for you practicing your religion as long as this doesn’t infringe on someone else’s rights to be a human being. This law actively belittles and others a specific portion of the population. According to this new bill, a school can engage in conducts that:

“a person of the same religion … could reasonably consider to be in accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings of that religion and to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of adherents of the same religion.” 

This new bill will permit religious schools to discriminate against queer students and teachers without being held accountable for it. This is highlighted by clause 11 of the new religious discrimination bill that states that:

“schools may “give preference, in good faith, to persons who hold or engage in a particular religious belief or activity.” 

Love is love

It is 2021; we need to start separating religion and the state; you can’t discriminate against someone based solely on their sexuality because this was in your holy scripture when the term homosexuality didn’t appear in the bible until 1946, and that was a gross mistranslation for the term pervert. This means if this new bill is passed in parliament, it will override the previous bill that sought to narrow religious exemptions to prevent school discrimination, especially if this was based on one’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

What’s next?


The bill is said to be introduced to the house of representative this week and will be referred to a Senate committee which will most likely be the legal and constitutional affairs committee; while some politicians like Anthony Albanese are for this bill, there are others who are staunchly against it because it will override prior protection legislation and for me, this current bill is a covert queerphobic bill.

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