QLD

Forced to Act Against Belief

The Anti-Discrimination Bill will force faith-based organisations to act in contradiction to their religious ethos

This Bill will force religious organisations to act in direct contradiction with their religious beliefs and will seriously undermine religious freedom in Queensland. 

Forced to provide services contrary to their religious beliefs.

When supplying goods and services under this new Bill, religious organisations, including faith-based charities, may only discriminate on the basis of a person’s religious belief and activity.  

This means that when a religious organisation is not engaged in a ‘religious observance or practice’ it can never refuse a service to a person who has a protected attribute under the act.  

This means that faith-based fostering services, adoption agencies, health service providers and other religious charities will not be able to refuse to supply their services where doing so would be inconsistent with their religious beliefs. A faith-based hospital would not be able to refuse to supply IVF services to two females in a relationship. An Islamic foster agency would not be able to refuse to approve a same-sex couple as adoptive parents because of their relationship status. 

Forced to implement measures that would undermine their religious ethos.

The Anti-Discrimination Bill 2024 (QLD) introduces a requirement under clause 19 for organisations to proactively educate, reform policies and otherwise pursue the purpose of the Bill to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment, vilification and victimisation. 

19 Duty to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment, vilification and victimisation
    (2) The person must take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate the discrimination, sexual harassment, vilification or victimisation as far as possible.

This will be detrimental to religious organisations because: 

  • requiring religious bodies to eliminate what would be considered discrimination or vilification on the basis of certain attributes may force them to compromise their doctrines, tenets and beliefs in pursuit of these new requirements; and 
  • religious bodies are often small operations that are not for profit and already operating with little to no margin for extra expense. These duties will place an unnecessary burden on these organisations and cripple their pursuit of their religious and charitable purposes, instead diverting them to eradicating so-called discrimination; 

Under these changes an imposed duty to ‘eliminate discrimination’ will require faith groups to proactively train staff in anti-discrimination. For example, training staff to allow hiring employees or volunteers from outside the faith or from diverse sexuality or gender identities. 

Under these changes an imposed duty to ‘eliminate discrimination’ will require faith groups to proactively train staff in anti-discrimination. For example, training staff to allow hiring employees or volunteers from outside the faith or from diverse sexuality or gender identities. This would also have to ensure their sermons do not breach the prohibitions on vilification in the Bill.

These changes will also require religious institutions to proactively direct all staff to not discriminate against any employee on the basis of any attribute other than religious belief or activity. By way of example, this means that the Catholic Church would need to compose a policy directing staff to not remove a priest from his parish if he were found to be in a secret marriage. It means that an Islamic organisation would need to draft a policy directing staff to not act if they found an Imam had been in an extra-marital affair.

The Bill should provide protections for religious bodies, clearly stating that religious organisations will not be required to take any measures that would force them to compromise or contradict their doctrines, tenets and beliefs. 

NOW is the time to contact your MP and tell them to FIX THIS BILL and protect religious freedoms.

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Contact Your MP is an initiative of Freedom for Faith.