MEDIA RELEASE: Federal government decision to issue a revised and further exposure draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill

December 1st, 2019

To download this statement in PDF format, click here.

To download letter from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, click here.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has welcomed the Federal government’s decision to issue a revised and further exposure draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill.

“The Federal government has made a good faith effort to review Australia’s current laws affecting religious freedom, which have developed incrementally over decades and represent a compromise between the just requirements of faith communities, the principle of equal rights for all citizens and the reasonable needs of the business sector”, said the ECAJ’s co-CEO, Peter Wertheim.  “Nobody should pretend that it is an easy task to strike a new balance of the interests at stake in order to better reflect the evolving needs and values of Australian society.  Such an outcome may ultimately prove not to be achievable, but that does not mean it is wrong to seek it”.

“The priority for the Jewish community is that all of its faith-based institutions and organisations, including places of worship, schools and pre-schools, aged care centres, hospitals, retirement villages, youth groups, clubs and voluntary associations will continue to be free to operate as they currently do”, Wertheim explained.   “Specifically, this means that they will continue to be free to give preference to members of the Jewish community, if their ethos so requires, in the provision of goods and services, in their employment practices, in the conduct of their operations, in their membership and in their governance and management”.

The ECAJ looks forward to working with the government on the upcoming exposure draft, with the input and support of the Australian Jewish community and in consultation with our colleagues representing other faith communities.

Peter Wertheim AM | co-CEO
ph: 02 8353 8500 | m: 0408 160 904 | fax 02 9361 5888
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