Given the unique aspects of the proposed bill, there should be a longer consultation period to examine why religious freedoms should be prioritised over other freedoms.
Under the government’s draft religious discrimination legislation, big companies would face tougher rules in relation to indirect discrimination.
While pushing for changes to increase protections for religious belief, the government has not yet answered if that should extend to being allowed to discriminate against LGBTI people.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison plans to create a new post of Freedom of Religion Commissioner, because he says many people of religion “feel the wheels closing in”.
The marriage equality debate brought the rights of LGBT Australians to the fore - now we need to turn our attention to the ways they are still discriminated against.
Australians already enjoy a relatively high level of religious freedom. However, discrimination and vilification on the basis of people’s faith still exists.
The report affirms that religious freedom is not to be legally entrenched as superior to rights to equality and freedom from discrimination.
Research shows that religion can have a positive impact on society in terms of better health, less crime and a stronger economy.
As Australian society changes, some religious groups are struggling to adjust to their new, less influential place in it.
As the Ruddock review of religious freedom is about to report, we need a more sophisticated understanding of what religion is and the ways its expression can be curtailed - or can curtail others.
The government’s review of religious freedom protections must ensure that any additional protection of religious freedom does not further undermine the right to non-discrimination.