ACT government criticizes federal religious discrimination bills, warns laws would ‘erode’ local protections | Canberra time

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The ACT government has strongly criticized proposed federal religious discrimination laws, which it says would set a dangerous precedent for the Commonwealth to erode state and territory protections. The ACT said the federal government’s proposed laws would also undermine the protection of human rights in the territory. The territory’s government said it does not support the bill package because it would prioritize the protection of religious freedom over other human rights, and recommended dropping proposals that would allow discrimination. against LGBTIQA+ people. ACT Human Rights Minister Tara Cheyne said some of the provisions of the Commonwealth’s proposed laws would override existing protections and make it more difficult to introduce new state or territory protections . “Only humans have human rights, and the ACT government recommends that the bills be amended to clarify that only an individual has the right to file a complaint of discrimination, not businesses,” Ms Cheyne said. In a submission to a federal parliamentary inquiry into the bills, the ACT government made 14 recommendations for changes, which included better protections for students and workers. The ACT government is concerned that LGBTQIA+ and HIV-positive people may themselves choose not to seek services from religious bodies if these bodies were able to have greater and more ambiguous powers of discrimination. The ACT also criticized powers in the bill that would allow schools to discriminate against prospective and current students, which it said would be out of step with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The powers “may also limit the rights of the Human Rights Act to education without discrimination”. Ms Cheyne said the ACT had a proud history of protecting human rights and was the first Australian state or territory to adopt a legislative bill of rights. “Our human rights framework ensures that these rights are balanced against the need to protect other rights such as the right to equality and non-discrimination,” she said. “Some of the proposals in the bills specifically override both existing protections and the development of future protections in state and territory laws, and the ACT government recommends that they be amended to allow the ACT laws to operate. simultaneously and to ensure that ACT’s culture of inclusiveness and inclusion social cohesion is preserved MORE ACT POLITICS NEWS: The ACT submission said there was no “reasonable justification for raising the right to freedom from religious discrimination and freedom of religious expression above other federal freedoms from discrimination based on sex, age, disability and race”. “The ACT government is particularly concerned about the chilling effect of notwithstanding clauses, as they prevent victims of discrimination from accessing their human right to non-discrimination and can reduce the will of the community authority to denounce intolerant behavior,” the document said. “In turn, the ACT Government is also concerned that this will undermine the ability of ACT employers to regulate what is acceptable in ACT workplaces.” compared to federal law, becomes unclear.” READ MORE: The ACT said the bill would remove the right of a female Canberra club member to file a complaint under the Discrimination Act of the ACT if the club president told him in good faith that divorced women lived “The member would lose his or her right to file a sex discrimination complaint and seek remedies from the territory or the federal commissions,” the member said. The ACT Government also criticized the proposed test to determine whether religious views are genuinely held, which it said was completely unprecedented in Australian law. “A religious body must show that only one other person of the same religion could reasonably consider the conduct of the body to be in accordance with the doctrines, principles, beliefs or teachings of that religion,” the submission said. “The agency’s conduct need not align with generally acceptable tenets of that religion; so long as another person reasonably believes that the conduct was consistent with his or her faith, the defense will be made out.” The test would mean that there was “no requirement to show conformity with general doctrines of a religion, unlike other sections of the bill, and rather defines a religious belief on an individual and subjective level” . Our reporters work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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