Religious Freedom Bill may result in job losses, conversion pressure
The Hindu Council of Australia has in a media release said that it opposes the government’s Religious Freedom Bill which is being introduced in the federal parliament. Although the media release says the bill is designed ‘to make discrimination on the basis of religion illegal and to stop people of faith being discriminated because of their faith or for not having one’, it fears it will result in job losses among Hindus and will potentially put pressure on them (Hindus) to convert for various reasons including to keep their jobs and incomes.
The media release, calls upon Hindus all over Australia to call their local MPs and express their disapproval urging the MPs to vote against the Bill.
The text of the media release:
HOWEVER, the bill has created many exemptions. It allows discrimination based on religion by organisations that are inspired by religious ethos, like schools, hospitals, aged care homes, employment agencies, charities etc. Any business that claims to be inspired by religious ethos can fire people who don’t belong to their religion.
This bill adversely affects minority religions. It especially affects Hindus and other newly arrived religions who have not had time and resources to establish their own schools, hospitals etc.
Oppose “No jobs for Hindus Bill”
The bill permits a business to declare and have a religion. It permits that business to fire its employees who are of the wrong religion and give preference in employment to candidates of its own religion,
A large number of Hindus work in schools, hospitals, aged care and other charities run by Christian and other faiths. If this bill is passed, these Hindus can be and are likely to be actively discriminated against. In practice it means that Hindus working in other faith based schools, hospitals etc. can be denied employment and existing staff can be fired.
A Hindu living in an aged care service of another religion will only be served by employees of the other religion as they wont have to hire any Hindu staff.
Oppose the Religious Conversion of Hindus Bill
Hindus do not seek to convert others but that is not the case with many religions. Some non-Hindu faith followers interpret their religion to mean that it is their duty to convert heathens and idolaters (Hindus included) while some interpret it to mean that use of force against non-believers is justified.
This bill may lead to abhorrent practice of forced conversion of Hindus to other faiths by luring them with jobs, admission of children into schools, treatments in hospitals and care in old age homes. And the Australian Government will continue to fund such religious institutes.
Oppose violation of Human Rights of Migrants, Unemployed, Students, Vulnerable and old people
Practices listed above violate human rights of Australian Hindus and will adversely affect vulnerable Hindus including new migrants, unemployed, socially disadvantaged and senior citizens needing care.
Hindus being treated in a hospital or being cared for in an institute, will not have someone who understands their culture and religious sensitivity. They may be surrounded by people who think that this Hindu is going to hell and must be converted. And the Australian government will be using our taxes to fund such places.
Those holding a position of power like teachers, doctors, carers, helpers should not be permitted to do the mission work.
Oppose Hindus being called idolaters, heathens and infidels
The new bill permits statement of belief rights. In practice, it means that anyone can insult people of other religions and call them with derogatory names and treat them as lesser human beings than themselves. This should not be permitted.
Oppose the introduction of religious apartheid in Australia
Australia made commendable progress when it replaced its racist Whites only immigration policy. But like a reformed drinker hitting the bottle again, it is now introducing a Bill which will give undue advantage to majority and well established religions at the cost of newly arrived and minority religions.
The bill will permit a child to study and then work their entire life in their own religious institutes, never coming in meaningful contact with people of other faiths. WE must oppose such an apartheid of teaching, employment and services.
PLEASE CALL YOUR LOCAL FEDERAL SENATOR and MP and tell them that you want them to oppose this law when it comes for voting.”
The government has prepared three pieces package to bring about the changes which include – Religious Discrimination Bill 2022, Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2021 and Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill 2021.
The government says the new bill (when it passes the parliament and becomes law) will ensure Australians are protected from discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity – just as they are protected from discrimination on the basis of age, sex, race and disability.
The legislative package has been informed by extensive consultation through two public exposure draft processes receiving approximately 13,000 written submissions.
In an earlier media release (27 November 2021) the group claimed to have made representations to both major political parties about the concerns of Hindus.
“We have expressed following concerns :
Bharat Times has requested Hindu Council of Australia for a copy of their submission made on the Religious Freedom bill.