|Australian Labor Party of Victoria
Our commitment is to reintroduce the reforms made to the Equal Opportunity Act in 2010, which went through an extensive consultation process taking almost three years, and were broadly supported by many stakeholders including the Catholic Church.
There were, in these reforms, certain exceptions to allow religious bodies, religious schools and individuals to discriminate in certain circumstances and strike a balance between the right to freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination. The religious exceptions were developed following extensive consultation with faith groups and the community.
Religious groups will continue to be able to discriminate on the grounds of religious belief or activity, sex, sexual orientation, lawful sexual activity, marital status, parental status and gender identity if the action conforms with the religion’s doctrines, beliefs or principles or is reasonably necessary to avoid injuring the religious sensitivities of the religion’s adherents.
Labor’s proposal to revisit the 2010 reforms will include the ability for religious bodies and schools to employ people of a particular faith and to require staff to adhere to the values of the organisation. However, where a religious school or body wishes to exclude a person from employment based on their attribute, they will have to show a closer nexus between the need to discriminate and the requirements of the particular job.
If a religious organisation wishes to discriminate in relation to employment, it will need to show that the discriminatory requirement is an inherent requirement of the particular position and that the person cannot meet that requirement because of an attribute. In considering whether a requirement is an inherent requirement, the nature of the religious body or school will be taken into account.