Have your say on religious freedom, Catholics urged

Catholics are being encouraged to participate in a nationwide survey on religious discrimination legislation currently before the Australian Parliament and speak up in favour of religious freedom.

Last month, the Attorney-General referred three bills to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights: the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021; the Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2021; and the Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill 2021.

As part of its inquiry, which is due to report back on in February 2022, the committee has launched an online survey. The survey asks respondents to reply to 10 questions.

Archbishop Peter A Comensoli, chair of the Bishops Commission for Life, Family and Public Engagement, said the legislation “while not perfect … will provide basic human rights protections for Australians of all faiths to express their beliefs”.

“All Australian citizens, regardless of their religious belief or activity, should be able to participate fully in our society,” he said.

“They must be entitled to the equal and effective protection of the law and should not be discriminated against on the basis of their religious belief or activities in public life.”

Archbishop Comensoli called on Catholics to take up the invitation and contribute to the consultation process.

“We are fortunate to live in a democratic society where we have the right and responsibility to advocate for fair and just laws,” he said.

“I encourage Catholics and all people of good will to exercise this freedom.”

Archbishop Comensoli also urged Catholics to pray for the passage of strong religious discrimination legislation.

The survey, which is only open until December 21, can be found at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ReligiousDiscrimination