IKEA speaks out against Religious Discrimination Bill

ikea australia exterior shot religious discrimination bill
Image: Mastrminda/Pixabay

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.

One has a tight submissions deadline of December 21 and the other has a deadline of January 7, 2022.

On Sunday afternoon, NSW LGBTIQ group Community Action for Rainbow Rights held a protest rally opposing the bill in Sydney’s Taylor Square.

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  1. Paul Mitchell
    8 December 2021

    Australia needs a federal ICAC and voter ID to stop voter fraud immediately BEFORE the federal election – not a religious beliefs protection bill as an excuse for anti-gay individuals racket!

  2. Greg
    9 December 2021

    It is extremely sad that as we approach 2022, religion still has so much control and power within Australia. This is completely unsatisfactory! No wonder why I am an atheist. Society would be “so much more” advanced without religion!

  3. Peter Turner
    9 December 2021

    This stupid Bill is a solution looking for a problem. There have been NO (ZERO) actual cases of where a person has been discriminated against based on their religion so why do we need this Bill at all.

    Our Bible thumping PM is just pandering to his religious Right supporters. Perhaps he would be better examining his own practice of “laying hands on” members of the public without their express consent. Others may label his behaviour as “assault”.

    Religion already inflicts harm on LGBTQI+ people. Why do they need protection to inflict more?

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