IHRA has made a submission on the revised exposure draft religious discrimination bills, very kindly endorsed by IPSA. We believe the proposed legislation is harmful. We have only been able to focus on specific areas, particularly on medical concerns, and we raise the following significant concerns:
- ‘statements of belief’ may be intrusive or coercive in medical settings.
- health services may decline to provide ‘particular kinds of health service’ but this is not defined and is uncertain. It is not clear if HRT might be a ‘particular kind of service’, for example, or if certain rationales are ‘particular’; HRT is sometimes contraceptive, sometimes necessary due to prior forced or coercive medical interventions, sometimes necessary due to innate considerations.
- ‘unjustifiable adverse impact’ on health is prohibited, but this presumes that some adverse impacts are justifiable.
- existing research shows harmful consequences from medical language, disclosures and non-disclosures. The proposed legislation will exacerbate these issues.
- alternative service providers are not available, and some existing services rely on services from other jurisdictions.
- differential treatment due to religious beliefs is not acceptable.
- general religious attitudes towards people with intersex variations are increasingly so contradictory and changeable that they can pretty much mean whatever anyone wants them to mean.
- we support a Bill of Rights as an alternative means of balancing rights and enacting UN Treaties that Australia has ratified.
Read our submission:
Submissions close on Friday. You can add your voice, for example, by stating that you endorse the IHRA submission, or raising specific concerns.
Make a submission or find out more: https://www.ag.gov.au/Consultations/Pages/religious-freedom-bills-second-exposure-drafts.aspx