Institute of Public Affairs Submission To The Queensland Parliament Inquiry Into Proposed Reform Of Anti-discrimination Laws

Written by:
3 July 2024
Institute of Public Affairs Submission To The Queensland Parliament Inquiry Into Proposed Reform Of Anti-discrimination Laws - Featured image

For over 80 years, the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) has been committed to undertaking research to preserve and strengthen the foundations of economic, political, and individual freedom. Central to individual freedom is the ability to hold and communicate thoughts and to live a life according to religious convictions.

The IPA is writing to all members of the Queensland parliament to share our research and analysis of the recently announced Respect at Work and Other Matters Amendment Bill 2024 (the RWOMA bill). The RWOMA bill represents a dramatic and direct assault on freedom of speech in Queensland and should be rejected. IPA research finds that the RWOMA bill has two major flaws:

  • The RWOMA bill would dramatically expand the scope and reduce the standard for unlawful speech.
  • The RWOMA bill will have a chilling effect on the speech of workers by imposing an ambiguous duty on employers to enforce the law.

I note that the state government has reportedly delayed introducing the full extent of reforms originally proposed in the draft Anti-Discrimination Bill 2024 (the draft AD bill) into parliament until after the October state election. While this is a welcome development, IPA analysis finds that the full suite of reforms contained within the draft AD bill (of which the RWOMA bill is the first phase) would undermine the legal paradigm of formal equality before the law and make it almost impossible for faith-based schools and religious bodies to comply with the law and maintain their religious ethos. In particular, the IPA analysis has identified three major flaws of the draft AD bill:

  • The draft AD bill 2024 attempts to achieve equality by treating people unequally and through solving discrimination with more discrimination.
  • The draft AD bill 2024 would mark the beginning of the end for religious schooling in Queensland.
  • The draft AD bill 2024 blurs the line between the church and the state by eroding the autonomy of religious bodies.

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