Victoria about to Pull the Plug on Religious Freedom

“Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot. Take thou what course thou wilt.”

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Victoria has moved one step closer to undoing one of Australia’s most basic doctrines, that the State will not interfere with or control religious organisations. In a series political moves that may well remind us of a Henry VIII or Vladimir Putin, Daniel Andrews has decided to pull the plug on religious freedom.

Yesterday, a Bill was presented to the Legislative Assembly for debate: an amendment to the Equal Opportunity Act, making it unlawful for religious organisations to not employ persons on account of them holding to different religious views to those believed by the organisation.

Mr Andrews has said, “Religious bodies or schools will be required to demonstrate a necessary connection between their religious beliefs and the requirements of a specific role.”

Should the State force Churches and religious organisations to employ persons who don’t subscribe to their values and vision? Of course not, but then again, Henry VIII shouldn’t have pronounced himself the head of the English Church and Julius Caesar probably shouldn’t stuck his nose into Gaul, but they did.

Schools, Churches, Synagogues, Temples, and hundreds of organisations, will be required to pass a test, demonstrating to the Government that advertised positions inherently require an employee to affirm the beliefs and practices of that institution. The tribunal will then have authority to decide what is religious and what is not, and which roles require a person to hold to the beliefs of the organisation and not; a pontifex maximus for Victoria!

Soon there will be all manner of religious organisations lining up outside a brick Government building, waiting to prove that their employees ought to be on the same page as their school or charity.

Yes, I know, all this sounds like one crazy dream built on an evening of Roquefort and Sauternes, or perhaps the plot line for a whacky comedy. But no, this is real and it is serious.

Victorians who conform to Labor’s strict interpretation of religion and sexuality have nothing to fear, but for 100,000s of Victorians who send their children to religious schools, attend churches, and who support religious organisations, there is genuine reason for concern.

The Bill will be voted on this afternoon (15/9) and is guaranteed to pass the Lower House, given that the Government has the numbers. The final outcome will then depend on the Legislative Council. Common sense ought to prevail, but then common sense would have ensured this Bill had never left cabinet room.

Concerned Victorians should contact their local members of Parliament. We can also pray that common sense will be followed and this Bill rejected.


For further details read:

https://murraycampbell.net/2016/09/06/letters-for-members-of-the-victorian-parliament-re-inherent-requirement-test/

https://murraycampbell.net/2016/09/04/petition-to-uphold-freedom-of-association-and-freedom-of-belief-in-victoria/

The Secularized Erastianism of the Daniel Andrews Government in Victoria

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5 thoughts on “Victoria about to Pull the Plug on Religious Freedom

  1. My mum is an atheist. She works for a baptist organisation. She works extremely hard for them, enabling their charitable work to succeed. She respects them and remains present during their weekly prayer. The mismatch of beliefs has no impact on her appropriateness for the role because she is good at her job and shares their charitable values.
    I think it’s wrong if there are people out there missing out on employment that would benefit the organisation, the worker and society because of an irrelevant factor. It would be unacceptable in any context: if a christian was not hired by an athiest or a muslim was not hired someone of the baha’i faith.
    We have legislation against emloyment discrimination for a reason, and belief should be no different.
    Now, if you were interviewing an atheist to be a pastor, that’s a different story. Good thing Daniel Andrews made provisions for that.

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    • Thank you for your comments.

      I don’t think anyone is wanting to deny a religious organisation who freely chooses to employ persons who don’t affirm the beliefs of that organisation. But for the Government to intrude and take away freedom from schools, churches, etc to appoint people who reflect their beliefs, is crossing the line. Is it the place of Government to create its own religious doctrine and impose it on others? That is precisely what this amendment is doing; they are imposing their view of religious thought & practice onto every other religious organisation in the State.

      What if the Liberal Party took away Labor’s freedom to appoint only Labor supporters to their organisation? It is incongruous.

      While the legislation shouldn’t effect the appointments of “clergy”, it does impact other church appointments.

      You may like to read the articles that I’ve linked, as they explore in greater detail the problems with the legislation.

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  2. Why should religious private schools be able to take public money and then claim that they are above the rules that govern the rest of society? That strikes me as the definition of hypocrisy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Murray, I think you might not realise that this is a GOOD thing for your religious freedom.

    Religious freedom refers to your ability to practice your faith privately and with others of your faith. It does not include the ability to impose your beliefs on others, under any circumstances, as this would bring different belief systems into conflict – which would directly undermine your freedom to practice your faith. Open that door and you’ll find yourself constantly defending your beliefs from all comers.

    Discriminating against employees based on non-work related factors (ie. your religious beliefs) is imposing your beliefs upon others. This clearly violates the freedom of others to practice their faith privately. Bring that into question and you open yourself up conflict – bad for you and everyone.

    It’s a bit like the whole War on Christmas thing; you can complain about the holiday losing it’s meaning but that kinda ignores the fact that a ceremony from one specific religion has no place in public life to begin with. In essence christians have been getting away with preaching their faith at others for decades without anyone realising it – you’d do well to no bring attention to that before everyone realises that it’s a massive breach of the same religious freedom that you claim to be defending here.

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  4. Pingback: Some of Victoria’s “inherent requirements” amendments may be unconstitutional | Law and Religion Australia

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