A submission to the Federal government's Religious Freedom Bills by the Tasmanian Labor party has called on the Australian government to reconsider the proposed legislation in favour of a Tasmanian style act.
The bill is designed to protect those following their religion but concerns have been raised about how these new protections may undermine existing anti-discrimination laws.
In a submission to the second exposure drafts of the Religious Freedom Bills, Labor justice spokeswoman Ella Haddad said under Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 religious Tasmanians have the same protections against discrimination as everyone else.
"The act protects Tasmanians, as well as anyone visiting our island state, from discrimination or hate speech based on a range of attributes: race, sex, age, gender, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, political belief and, importantly, religious belief," Ms Haddad said.
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Ms Haddad said if the Federal bills were enacted, this consistent approach to discrimination in Tasmania would no longer apply.
"We believe the changes proposed in the draft bills would unnecessarily risk hard-won anti-discrimination rights and, if passed, would expose vulnerable Australians to increased discrimination with no recourse," she said.
"Overall, the drafting is overly complex and lacks clarity about its interaction with existing anti-discrimination protections, producing an unacceptable risk of unintended consequences."
Ms Haddad said Tasmania's laws struck the right balance between allowing Tasmanians to not suffer discrimination and allowing organisations with a faith-based practice to prosper.
"Our act provides a model for the nation," she said.
"Rather than being seen as a handbrake on their operations, the act has instead seen such [faith-based] organisations grow.
"The Tasmanian act allows faith based organisations including schools, hospitals and charities, to select employees on the basis of the employee's religion.
"This is a clear exemption under the act, allowing religious organisations to ensure they operate in a way that upholds the values of their faith."
Attorney-General Elise Archer said, while the government has not made a submission to the draft bills, she has been involved in discussions with Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter and his office through the bills' consultation process.
"The Tasmanian majority Liberal government is committed to free speech and allowing all Tasmanians to express their views reasonably and respectfully in accordance with their views," Ms Archer said.
"I have recently written to the Federal Attorney-General again to indicate that the Tasmanian government is of the view that every member of the community should enjoy full freedom of religious belief and freedom of expression, and indicated that it remains important the laws strike the right balance between providing protection from discrimination and unlawful conduct, whilst still allowing for the responsible expression of beliefs, public debate and discussion on important issues.
"Ultimately, changes to the draft bills are a Federal matter and we have made our views known."