NSW is planning to join other Australian states and territories in prohibiting religious discrimination by law.
The state government will shortly introduce a bill in Parliament to amend the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW), adding religion to existing protected grounds of disability, sex, race, age, marital or domestic status, homosexuality, transgender status, and carer’s responsibilities.
The government says the reform responds to a recommendation of the Expert Panel Report and Religious Freedom Review, which states that NSW should amend its anti-discrimination law to protect against discrimination on the grounds of religion.
NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said in a statement that “by making discrimination on the grounds of religion unlawful, we’re ensuring that our laws reflect modern community values”.
“NSW is a proudly multicultural and multi-faith society. We’re pleased to be taking this critical step to protect people of faith and of no faith from discrimination and to support freedom of religion,” he said.
In June last year, the Federal Government announced its intention to introduce a Religious Discrimination Bill to protect against discrimination based on religious belief or activity in key areas of public life into Federal Parliament by the end of this year.
The NSW Government plans to await the passage of the that Bill through Federal Parliament before finalising the detail of NSW reforms, avoid constitutional inconsistency and properly account for the interaction of the federal and state laws.