Attorney-General Rob Hull’s proposed  Equal Opportunity Bill 2010 – with its many restrictions on freedom of religion and freedom of expression – will be debated NEXT WEEK (probably WED 24 March) in the Victorian Legislative Assembly.

Do you live in Victoria?

If so, please write to your MPs this WEEKEND

… to your ONE MP in the Legislative Assembly and your FIVE Members in the Legislative Council.

The Coalition will be deciding how they will vote on this bill early next week.

PLEASE encourage your Victorian friends and churches to write also!

Ask your MPs to vote against the  Equal Opportunity Bill 2010.

* Tell them you are very concerned about the restrictions relating to religious freedom that this Bill includes – by making religious bodies prove it is ‘reasonably necessary’ for them to discriminate and by including an ‘inherent requirement’ test for employment for religious schools and bodies (Section 81-84).

* Also outline your opposition to the extension of powers to the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission in part 9 of the Bill which will allow them to launch their own ‘investigations’ into discrimination without a complaint being made.

You can also use the following more detailed points (either copy and paste or summarise):

* In Sections 82 (2), 83 (2) and 84 the requirement to prove that the discrimination “is reasonably necessary to avoid injury to the religious sensitivities of adherents of the religion” is an onerous requirement.

* In Sections 82 (3) and 83 (4) the ‘inherent requirement’ clause for employment in a religious body or a religious school is unreasonable and onerous. All employees in a Christian school, for example, need to follow the beliefs and doctrine of the school. Since all staff participate in a range of activities in the school, it is impossible to have non-Christian staff or staff whose behaviour and practice does not conform with Christianity as spelt out by that school. It is not the role of courts and tribunal to determine doctrine matters.

* The proposed powers to allow the EOHRC to launch its own investigations into discrimination are excessive and allow the EOHRC to interfere in society in a way that infringes on the rights of organisations, companies and individuals. It would infringe on the right to freedom of expression (See  Section 15 of the Charter) and also the freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.

Contact names and details for your MPs – click here.

If you don’t know your electorate or Upper House region, full details for finding these are on our website – click here. Jenny Stokes
Research Director
Salt Shakers
03 9800 2855
www.saltshakers.org.au

 

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