One of the issues that we have been discussing and discerning this year through our BUV Consultation Forums has been the issue of Religious Freedom. We appreciate your input into these discussions over the last couple of months at the 5 Consultation Forums we have held through the State and appreciate those who have provided feedback even when not being able to attend.
This is to inform you that the Attorney-General has just released their draft Religious Freedom Bills for public consultation and feedback. The Bill is available on the following website https://www.ag.gov.au/Consultations/Pages/religious-freedom-bills.aspx
The Attorney will also be meeting with key stakeholder groups in the coming weeks to discuss the Bill. This process will ensure stakeholders are able to discuss issues and questions raised by the Bill before a final Bill is drafted later this year.
The Government has recognised the importance of giving Australians the opportunity to provide comments on these Bills, and is now inviting submissions on the package of legislative reforms; these being:
– Religious Discrimination Bill 2019, providing comprehensive protection against discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity in specified areas of public life.
– Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019, which will make consequential amendments necessary to implement the Religious Discrimination Bill.
– Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Freedom of Religion) Bill 2019, which will amend existing Commonwealth legislation to better protect the right to freedom of religion.
We encourage you to read the draft bills, or outlines thereof and if you feel led to, make a submission by emailing FoRConsultation@ag.gov.au and using the following templates. You can do this individually or as a church community. Australian Baptist Ministries will be providing a submission on behalf of all state Baptists organisations.
The submissions received will be considered by the Government when developing the Bills before the package is introduced into Parliament.