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Religious Believers in Australia Get Protections, Not Freedom

Commentary Time appeared to be running out for the Australian government to deliver on its 2019 election pledge to legislate protections for religious believers and faith-based organisations. But in late November, Attorney-General Michaelia Cash finally briefed the Coalition party room as she prepared to put the exposure draft of her Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 before the Parliament by year’s end. This is a re-worked and slightly watered-down version of an earlier Bill prepared by Cash’s predecessor, Christian Porter. Some of the proposals put forward by Porter are out. Gone, for example, is the former Bill’s so-called “Folau clause”—named after Israel Folau, who was sacked by Rugby Australia for posting online teaching from Christian scriptures that called for various categories of sinners to repent. Adulterers took it on the chin; others were less sanguine. The Folau clause would have required an employer with an annual turnover of more than $50 million …

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