Timeline for inquiry into religious discrimination bill released

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has announced its timeline for an inquiry looking into the government’s third draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill.

The committee has set a deadline of 21 December for submissions, and announced public hearings on 21st December, plus 13th and 14th of January. All three of the hearings will be conducted in Canberra.

It’s final report will be completed by early February.

The committee has also clarified that it will only be considering issues directly relevant to the bill, ruling out consideration of how LGBTIQA+ students and teachers may be treated via the separate Sex Discrimination act.

“The committee has resolved that it will accept submissions strictly addressing its terms of reference: that is, relating to the religious discrimination legislative package.” the announced today.

The chair of the committee, Liberal Anne Webster flagged the strict terms of reference yesterday.

The committee has also announced it will only publish submissions from academics and organisations, not those from individuals. The previous inquiry into an earlier draft of the bill received over 13,000 submissions.

An online survey that individuals can take part in will also be rolled out. Debate on the bill is expected to commence in the House of Representatives this afternoon.

Graeme Watson

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