IKEA Australia has voiced concerns about the Morrison Government’s contentious Religious Discrimination Bill, warning the government not to pit religious protections against workplace equality.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled and introduced to parliament a new draft of the Bill two weeks ago.
IKEA Australia’s People and Culture Manager Elin Åhlund said last year, the company made a submission on an earlier draft.
In it, the retailer said it believed protections for Australians of faith have merit. However they warned laws “should not restrict other human rights and override existing anti-discrimination laws.”
Responding to the new draft, Åhlund said IKEA Australia stands by the original statement and still has concerns.
“[We] are concerned the latest draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill contains provisions that may allow people to be lawfully discriminated against,” Åhlund said.
“At IKEA Australia we welcome people of all faiths and beliefs and encourage diversity of all backgrounds and identities.
“We provide a safe space for our co-workers, free from harassment or abuse both from other co-workers and customers.
“We expect our co-workers to respect human rights and to commit to making these rights a part of everything we do.
“If we are to continue to deliver on this commitment, the final Religious Discrimination Bill should ensure businesses are not put in potential conflict with equality and diversity policies or practices in which discrimination of any kind is not tolerated.
“We must see the final Discrimination Bill deliver protection for all Australians regardless of culture, creed or identity.”
Åhlund said IKEA Australia’s culture “is one where everyone is welcome, safe and accepted, whatever their gender, age, physical ability, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, nationality/race and other dimensions of their identity.”
New draft of Religious Discrimination Bill slammed
Last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced the third draft of the contentious legislation to parliament.
Morrison has framed the bill as “a shield, not a sword” to protect Australians of faith from discrimination.
However LGBTIQ advocates and others reject this, warning it will permit discrimination against LGBTIQ people, women, and minority groups.
Last week, the federal parliament wrapped up for the year until it resumes on February 8.
Over summer, two parliamentary inquiries are examining the Religious Discrimination Bill.
On Sunday afternoon, NSW LGBTIQ group Community Action for Rainbow Rights held a protest rally opposing the bill in Sydney’s Taylor Square.
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.