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Parliament House, Brisbane (Facebook/Queensland Parliament)

Proposed changes to the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act would be a “betrayal of all faith communities” in the state, an open letter from Queensland Churches Together warns. Source: The Catholic Leader.

Current Queensland law allows religious schools and organisations to make employment decisions to select and maintain a body of staff that broadly upholds their beliefs, practices and moral convictions.

The changes introduced by the Miles Government, in response to recommendations made by the Queensland Human Rights Commission, limit these powers.

Religious bodies would only be able to favour in their employment decisions “on the basis of religious belief or religious activity”, and only where religious belief and religious activity are a “genuine occupational requirement”.

Queensland Churches Together, to which Brisbane Archdiocese is a signatory, argues in its submission to the inquiry it would come down to a secular court to decide which roles in a religious organisation have religious belief or activity as a “genuine occupational requirement”.

They argue this poses “a significant risk of imposing a secular perspective on a theological question, which would severely undermine the religious freedom of groups”.

In his submission to the inquiry, Queensland University of Technology law professor Alex Deagon said the narrow standard of “genuine occupational requirement” perpetuated the stereotype that “only a principal and chaplain need to be religious” in a religious school.

“A culture of faith requires a critical mass of staff who share the beliefs and practices which undergird the school,” he wrote.

“Furthermore, the explicit prohibition of discrimination on the basis of other attributes, such as sexuality attributes, ignores the fact that there are animating religious beliefs and practices around sex which can render persons inappropriate for employment in a religious context.”

Queensland Churches Together said faith communities participated “in good faith” with the Government’s review but their concerns had not been heard.

“We pointed out the necessity of protecting all human rights, and we proposed solutions,” they said.

“None of our concerns nor suggestions for a positive way forward are considered in this draft bill.”


Queensland churches call proposals to Anti-Discrimination Act a ‘betrayal’ (By Joe Higgins, The Catholic Leader)


Catholic, Muslim and Jewish leaders condemn proposed anti-discriminations in Queensland (The Australian)