Religious exemptions harm and hurt Australians

Meredith Doig / 07 September 2021

Today, we’re calling on our supporters and other secular-minded Australians to help us raise awareness about how religious exemptions from discrimination laws harm and hurt many Australians.

In modern Australia, it seems unthinkable that employers could legally fire staff for being divorced, for living with a partner before marriage, for falling pregnant outside of wedlock or for being gay.

But many religious institutions, especially schools, enjoy special exemptions to state and territory discrimination laws that allow them to fire staff or take other disciplinary action for a wide range of reasons that wouldn’t be acceptable anywhere else.

The Independent Education Union, whose members work in faith-based schools, has detailed numerous case studies where such discrimination has affects real people. You can read some of these on our campaign webpage.

We know that some states are now starting to look into unwinding some religious exemptions. So now is the perfect time to stand up and urge state and territory governments to remove these exemptions once and for all.

We want your help to let fellow Australians know how religious exemptions cause so much harm and hurt in our community.

A key feature of our effort will be an advertising blitz on social media – and, potentially, in mainstream media – through the generous donations that we collect in the coming days.

If you want to help us get the message out, you can make a donation to the RSA Fighting Fund on our website.

There are a number of other ways you can help us make an impact.

  • Share or retweet our social media posts.
  • Contact your state/territory or federal member of parliament to urge them to support the removal of unfair, divisive religious exemptions.
  • Tell your story: let us know if you, or someone you know, has been affected by these religious exemptions.

All the more reason.