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You are here: Skip breadcrumbAttorney-General's Department >> Consultations, reforms and reviews >> Religious Freedom Bills – Second Exposure Drafts
Submissions close on Friday, 31 January 2020

The Australian Government invites submissions on the second exposure drafts of a package of legislation on religious freedom.

Submissions will only be accepted between 10 December 2019 and 31 January 2020.

The second exposure drafts of the three bills have been prepared following the consultation process on the first exposure drafts. The draft bills have been revised to take account of issues raised and are the Government’s response to the consultation to date.

This second consultation process is an opportunity for Australians to respond to the revisions made since the first exposure drafts. We welcome submissions addressing the substance of the draft bills. Documents submitted to the first exposure draft consultation process have been retained and do not need to be submitted again.

The Government will consider the submissions when further refining these bills before introduction into Parliament.

Overview of the draft bills

Religious Discrimination Bill 2019

Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019

Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Freedom of Religion) Bill 2019

Background

On 13 December 2018, the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General released the Report of the Religious Freedom Review. The review made several recommendations and concluded that there is an opportunity to further protect and better promote freedom of religion under Australian law and in the community. In its response, the Australian Government committed to a range of measures to implement the review's recommendations.

This response forms the basis of the legislative package on freedom of religion, which includes the:

  • Religious Discrimination Bill
  • Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill, and
  • Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Freedom of Religion) Bill.

On 29 August 2019, the Attorney-General released the first exposure drafts of the bills. A public submission process on the package of legislation was open between 29 August and 2 October 2019, and received close to 6,000 submissions, including a number of campaign-based submissions. In addition, the Attorney-General held consultative discussions, during which he met with 90 interested stakeholders, including representatives from church, legal and community groups.

The consultation process demonstrated that the Australian community is generally supportive of the proposition that discrimination based on a person’s religion is not acceptable and should be prohibited. However, as with any topical issue before the Parliament, there is a wide range of views on the legislation, and this diversity of opinion was reflected in the responses to the exposure draft legislation.

The bills have now been amended to take account of the feedback received during consultation. This second exposure draft consultation period is an opportunity for Australians to consider the amendments since the first exposure draft.

How to provide your feedback

Submissions can be emailed to FoRConsultation@ag.gov.au.

The submission process will be open until 31 January 2020. Late submissions will not be considered.

Use of your information

The information you give us will help to develop the package of legislative reforms. It will only be used for this purpose.

We may publish your submission, unless you request for it to remain confidential, or if we consider (for any reason) that it should not be made public. We may redact parts of published submissions, as appropriate. You can also ask for your submission to be published anonymously.

Personal information

We will collect personal information so that we can verify submissions are not duplicates, and to provide advice to government. If you wish to remain anonymous or use a pseudonym, let us know when you send in your submission.

Refer to our privacy policy to find out more.

Note: We cannot resolve individual disputes or provide advice on any examples of potential discrimination.

Make an enquiry

Email: FoRConsultation@ag.gov.au

If you experience issues accessing any document on this page, please contact FoRConsultation@ag.gov.au for assistance.​​