"Industry welcomes the removal from the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 of the unworkable provisions relating to employer conduct rules concerning employee statements of belief," Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group, said today.

"Ai Group's submissions on two earlier exposure drafts of the Bill raised significant concerns about the previous provisions which would have severely constrained an employer’s ability to maintain appropriate standards of conduct in the workplace in respect of 'statements of belief' made by an employee.

"Employers are rightly focussed on ensuring that their workplaces embrace diversity, inclusion and tolerance and it is important that the rights of all employees are respected. Any statements made in the workplace must meet appropriate standards of conduct. The Bill now protects this important principle.

"Ai Group supports freedom of religion. The Bill appropriately outlaws discrimination on the grounds of religious belief or activities (similar to the anti-discrimination laws in most States and Territories).

"We thank the Government for its consultative approach as the proposals in the Bill evolved. The consultation process turned what would have been impossible proposals for employers into a workable outcome. We look forward to participating in the Parliamentary inquiry that will be held into the provisions of the Bill," Mr Willox said.

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