South Australian Attorney-General Vicki Chapman will consider submissions made during a recently closed public consultation on proposed new laws to outlaw discrimination. The proposed reforms would legislate to stop religious discrimination against LGBTIQ students and also clients of services.
Consideration of the latest reform comes hot on the heels of another win for LGBTIQ+ South Australians. The state recently became the final Australian state to abolish the gay panic murder defence.
The proposed reforms would make it illegal for religious groups to:
– suspend, expel, block entry, or subject students to unfavourable treatment
– refuse provision of services, or provide lesser services to potential or existing clients and patients
– refuse to hire someone, or terminate their employment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status. The reform would allow exemptions for genuine occupational need, in relation to employment.
South Australian Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said the government wanted reforms that struck a better balance between equality and religious freedom.
“The current law allows some bodies established for religious purposes to discriminate on the basis of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or intersex status.
“This is so that they can operate within the doctrines of the religion generally or to avoid offending members of their religion.
“While these freedoms are important, they need to be balanced against the rights of individuals to fairness and equality, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
No place for discrimination
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan praised the South Australian government’s proposed reforms.
“For too long now, religious bodies have got away with not having to comply with the laws of the land.
“It’s therefore time for that to end.
“There is no longer a place for discrimination in modern society. There is also no place for special exemptions that allow one part of the community to legally discriminate against another.
“From the time of the very first LGBTIQ+ law reforms, the Christian lobby has always cried persecution. However, for some reason, they believe their right to discriminate should trump everyone else’s right to not be discriminated against.”
If you are having a workplace issue, please call IR Claims on 1300 853 837.