Religious Freedom Bills – First Exposure Drafts
The Australian Government invited submissions on the first exposure drafts of a package of legislation on religious freedom between 29 August and 2 October 2019. These are the:
- Religious Discrimination Bill 2019
- Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019
- Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Freedom of Religion) Bill 2019.
On 10 December 2019, the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General released second exposure drafts of the three bills. Further information about the second consultation process can be found on the Religious Freedom Bills – second exposure drafts page.
About the bills
Overview of the draft bills
Religious Discrimination Bill 2019
Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019
Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Freedom of Religion) Bill 2019
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 on the first exposure drafts 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 were amended to take account of the feedback received during consultation and released for a second exposure draft consultation period.
We received approximately 6,000 submissions, including a number of campaign-based submissions. The department has published over 270 submissions below. These represent the majority of submissions received (3,137) including all submissions from organisations and all campaign-based submissions.
If you require any of these documents in a different accessible format, please contact FoRConsultation@ag.gov.au.
Use of your information and Contact details
Use of your information
We will not publish your submission where 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.
Note: We cannot resolve individual disputes or provide advice on any examples of potential discrimination.
If you experience issues accessing any document on this page, please contact FoRConsultation@ag.gov.au for assistance.