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Parliament House, Brisabane (Facebook/Queensland Parliament)

The Queensland Government’s proposed anti-discrimination laws have been described as “Orwellian” and the “most restrictive regime for religious institutions in Australia”. Source: The Australian. 

The Australian Christian Lobby blasted the “draconian” draft bill, which would ban faith-based schools from sacking any teacher or expelling any student who converts to another religion.

“This bill reads like an addendum to Orwell’s novel, 1984,” ACL Queensland director Rob Norman said on Monday.

“If tabled and passed, religious schools will be required to surrender some of their deepest-held theological views and values and be subjected to the invasive oversight of the Department of Justice and the Attorney-General.

“State-controlled religion has, until now, been the domain of the old Soviet Union or China.”

Anti-discrimination lawyer Mark Fowler warned Queensland’s proposal would “legislate the most restrictive regime for religious institutions in Australia”.

“It would prevent a church from disciplining a bishop or imam who engaged in extramarital affairs, whether heterosexual or homosexual, or even where they engaged in prostitution,” he said.

Dr Fowler, an adjunct associate professor at the universities of Notre Dame and New England, said the bill would “vastly increase complexity and uncertainty for religious institutions”.

The draft bill, based on Queensland Human Rights Commission recommendations, would close some loopholes that let religious schools discriminate against students and staff on the grounds of religion, sex or marital status.

It singles out science teachers as a group who could not be discriminated against on religious grounds, as it says religious instruction is not part of that job. Schools will still be allowed to discriminate on the grounds of religion, but only when hiring staff 

The bill spells out that schools can discriminate against students on the grounds of religion and sex when they enrol. But if a student changes sex or religion, a school would not be able to expel them.

The Government is accepting written submissions in response to the draft bill until March 22.


Anti-discrimination laws would ‘stop religious schools sacking staff for adultery’ (By Natasha Bita and Lydia Lynch, The Australian)


Anti-discrimination Legislation Open For Consultation (Mirage News)