We’ve received a lot of feedback about the nature of the survey being used as part of the submission process for the Joint Committee on Human Rights’ inquiry into the Religious Discrimination Bill.
We, too, have concerns about the survey. These include:
- the questions appear framed in a way likely to bolster the case for the bill;
- the survey appears hastily constructed, meaning it is unlikely to have undergone normal trialling to ensure it is fit for purpose;
- it uses complex language that could easily lead to misunderstanding or ambiguity.
Having said that, we are encouraging people to participate, given that the survey is one of the ways being offered for the public to have a say on the bill.
Below, we’ve published all of the questions so that you can consider your answers in the context of the whole survey before completing it online.
If you wish to go ahead and complete the survey, you can access it here.
All questions require a ‘Yes’/‘No’ answer, with a text box to explain ‘Why/Why Not’.
1. Do you believe there should be legislation to protect people from religious discrimination in certain areas of public life on the grounds of their religious belief or activity? This will include protecting people who don’t hold a religious belief as well.
2. We currently have a Sex Discrimination Act, Age Discrimination Act and Racial Discrimination Act, do you believe it is important to also have a Religious Discrimination Act as well?
3. Do you support the religious discrimination legislative package that is currently before the Parliament?
4. Do you believe that parents should be able to choose to send their children to a school of their choice which aligns with their religious values?
5. Do you consider that religious schools should be able to require all students to practice the religion affiliated with that school, if this requirement is necessary to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of people of that religion?
6. Do you believe religious schools, hospitals, aged care facilities, accommodation providers and disability service providers should be able to preference the hiring of staff of the same religious belief, as long as this is in accordance with a publicly available written policy?
7. Do you consider that religious charities (not covered by question 6) should be able to preference persons who share their religious beliefs when making employment decisions or offering services?
8. Do you believe religious people would be comfortable to share their beliefs in public life without the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021?
9. Do you think it should be lawful for a person to be able to make a statement of belief so long as it is made in good faith and is not malicious, threatening, intimidating, or harassing and does not vilify a person or group or advocate the commission of a serious offence?
10. Should the committee choose to publish an anonymised representative sample of responses; do you agree to all or parts of your response being published?