ALRC: Religious Educational Institutions and Anti-Discrimination Laws
The ALRC is tasked to consider and propose reforms to the Federal anti-discrimination laws.
The Federal anti-discrimination laws provide protection against discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or relationship status, and pregnancy. However, religious, educational institutions, such as schools, are exempt from these laws. The exception allows religious schools to discriminate on certain grounds if it is done in good faith and to protect the religious sensibilities of adherents to that religion. It is to balance the right to non-discrimination and equality with the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.
The review will examine these protections of religion against competing interests such as sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or relationship to determine whether they both protect and promote fundamental human rights, such as the right to non-discrimination and equality and the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. The ALRC will consider the frameworks provided by international human rights law, and the experiences of other jurisdictions, to propose reforms consistent with Australia’s international obligations.