Australians constrained by fear of employers: poll

Survey shows people are divided over Israel Folau

A new survey on religious freedom shows most Australians are concerned about employers being able to dictate what employees say outside of work. Source: The Guardian.

However, the latest Guardian Essential poll also shows that while the debate continues about a religious freedom bill, less than half of Coalition voters argue that there should be stronger laws to protect people who express their religious views in public.

While only 44 per cent of Coalition voters would back a proposal like the one now being sought by a group within the government, support for the idea across all the voting cohorts is even more tepid, with only 38 per cent backing the move (16 per cent strongly and 22 per cent somewhat).

Clear majorities in the sample also agree with the statements “it is only right that people consider how what they say can affect others” (69 per cent) and “people should not be able to argue religious freedoms to abuse others” (64 per cent).

While the poll suggests Australians are reluctant to codify freedom of religious expression, the latest poll also indicates Australians feel constrained in what they can say and are concerned about the capacity of employers to dictate behaviour outside working hours.

A majority, 64 per cent, agree that people now hesitate before saying what they really think because they are afraid of how others will react, and a majority, 58 per cent, agree that employers should not have the right to dictate what their employees say outside of work.

A majority of the sample, 68 per cent, have been following the heavily publicised dispute between Israel Folau and Rugby Australia.

But the headline-generating dispute has divided the sample, with respondents sharing nuanced views. Similar proportions in the survey report the dispute is mainly about Folau’s freedom of speech and right to express his religious views (43 per cent) and the issue of Folau breaching his employment contract (49 per cent).


Conservatives agitate for religious freedom law but Coalition voters not on board – Essential poll (The Guardian)


Christian Porter defends his position to legislate religious discrimination Bill (The West Australian)

Christian leaders speak out against proposed religious discrimination laws (SBS News)

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