Under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984, organisations that have been established for religious purposes have wide exceptions allowing them to discriminate on the basis of sex, or against LGBTIQ staff and clients. They sometimes discriminate to avoid offending members of the religion or to strongly encourage staff and clients to conform to the teachings of the particular religion.
Organisations that are not considered to be ‘established for religious purposes’ have limited or no ability to discriminate.
We want to make it clear that some essential service providers cannot rely on exceptions for bodies ‘established for religious purposes’ under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984. This would mean that it is unlawful for the providers to engage in prohibited discrimination because of their organisation’s religious beliefs or values when providing these services.
In drafting the proposed amendments to the Act, we have considered:
- Recommendations from a community roundtable held in 2019 on issues affecting LGBTIQ communities in South Australia.
- A report prepared by the South Australian Law Reform Institute in 2016 about religious exceptions in the Equal Opportunity Act.
- The findings of the federal Expert Panel on Religious Freedom in 2018
You can help create a better balance by getting involved.