I recently presented a paper to a legal seminar which summarised the effect of three Australian laws on “conversion therapy” and their impact on religious freedom. The paper can be downloaded here: “Religious Freedom, Australian ‘Conversion Practices’ Laws & the Enforceability of Court Orders“.
After a long wait, the Federal government has released the text of the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 which is about to be introduced into the Parliament. There has been no general Federal law dealing with detrimental treatment of Australians on the basis of their religious faith and activities, and this is a welcome development, implementing a recommendation of the Ruddock Review which reported in 2018.
The government previously released two “Exposure Drafts” of the Bill (see some comments on those in previous posts, here, and here.) Having promised prior to the last election that he would advance this law, Prime Minister Morrison will now introduce it into the House of Representatives. If passed by the House, the Bill will then need to approved by the Senate, where it seems likely to be referred to (yet another) committee before being voted on there, probably sometime in the New Year.
In this post I will aim to provide an overview of the Bill, and also to indicate briefly where it differs from previous drafts.