Tasmanian community groups stand against Religious Discrimination bill

A coalition of Tasmanian community organisations has formed to stop the proposed override of the state’s gold-standard Anti-Discrimination by the federal Religious Discrimination Bill.

The groups have launched a community statement which they hope a wide range of community organisations and prominent Tasmanians will endorse.

Spokesperson and former Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Robin Banks, said,

“Tasmania has more to lose than any other state because our Anti-Discrimination Act is the strongest in the nation.”

“Protections from humiliating and offensive conduct, and from discrimination by faith-based organisations, which have been in place up to 23 years, are threatened by the Religious Discrimination Act.”

“These protections have fostered a fairer and more inclusive Tasmania.”

“Rather than weakening our Anti-Discrimination Act, the federal government should adopt it as a national standard.”

“We have come together as representatives of diverse communities to say with one voice that we won’t allow a roll-back of the Anti-Discrimination Act, and we won’t allow Tasmania’s journey toward greater inclusion and fairness to be threatened.”

“We will be seeking support for our statement from a broad range of community groups and prominent Tasmanians in order to show that Tasmania is united behind the Anti-Discrimination Act and the values it represents.”

The statement is supported by Disability Voices Tasmania, The Multicultural Council of Tasmania, Women’s Health Tasmania, Unions Tasmania, Family Planning Tasmania and Equality Tasmania.

Read the community statement in full below.

“Tasmania’s gold-standard Anti-Discrimination Act is the best in Australia and has made Tasmania a better place for everyone.

People with disability and people from multicultural backgrounds are protected from humiliation and denigration.

Teachers in faith-based schools are protected from being sacked because they are gay or in a defacto relationship.

Nurses can work in faith-based hospitals if they are unmarried parents.

People of faith also have some of the strongest protections in Australia.

Our workplaces, schools and hospitals are safer and more inclusive.

The Anti-Discrimination Act sends the message that abuse and mistreatment is unacceptable, no matter who you are, who you love, where you work, or what faith you have.

The Federal Religious Discrimination Bill will trash all that by giving some people a special right to treat others badly.

It will allow denigration and discrimination if it is in the name of faith.

It will take away discrimination protections that have been in place for almost a quarter century.

It will foster discrimination against people with disability, LGBTIQ+ people, religious and cultural minorities, unmarried partners and women.

It will take our state backwards.

Stand up for Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act and the fairer Tasmania is has fostered.

Stand up for the rights of Tasmanians to make our own human rights laws without Canberra overriding them.

Oppose the Religious Discrimination Bill.”

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