26 November 2021
The Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 introduced to Parliament yesterday by the Prime Minister will complete a nearly five-decade long process to protect the fundamental human rights in Australia.
Recent private polling* demonstrates widespread support for the Bill’s protections with more than 2 out of 3 Australians believing that Australian laws should uphold and protect the universal human right to hold and practice religious beliefs.
“Protection of religious freedom is important to many Australians,” said Vanessa Cheng of the Australian Association of Christian Schools, “this Bill fills the gap in Commonwealth human rights law and deserves bipartisan support.”
The polling also showed strong support for faith based schools, with 79% of Australians supporting the right of religious schools to employ teachers and other staff who support the values and beliefs of the school, if those values and beliefs are clearly stated. This support was across the political spectrum.
“In a tolerant, multi-faith society, the protections for religious schools to employ staff who can reflect and teach their values and beliefs is an essential element of religious freedom” said Mark Spencer of Christian Schools Australia, “regardless of whether they are Jewish, Muslim, Catholic or Christian schools.”
Over 80% of Australians also supported the rights of parents to choose a school that reflects their values and beliefs.
“Parents are choosing faith based schools in increasing numbers because they like the values and beliefs our schools teach,” said Mrs Cheng.
“This independent polling clearly demonstrates the community support for this Bill,” Mr Spencer noted.
The Australian Association of Christian schools and Christian Schools Australia call upon MPs and Senators to listen to the concerns of our community and ensure the rapid passage of this Bill before the Federal election.
* Independent national polling of a weighted representative sample of 1515 Australians undertaken from 19 October 2021
Download Media Release and Polling Results HERE