Media Release
Wednesday December 22nd 2021
Tasmania's peak business and union bodies have joined the campaign to protect Tasmania's gold-standard Anti-Discrimination Act from being overridden by the federal Religious Discrimination Bill.
To announce their opposition to the override, the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) and Unions Tasmania stood shoulder-to-shoulder with other community groups at a media conference in Hobart on Monday.
TCCI CEO, Michael Bailey, said, Tasmania's strong Anti-Discrimination Act has boosted business and tourism in Tasmania thanks to the perception that Tasmania is "the most inclusive state in Australia".
Mr Bailey said the Religious Discrimination Bill will have negative impacts on Tasmanian workplaces.
"What it means is a worker could potentially bully a co-workers or a colleague and then step behind this legislation as a defence."
Unions Tasmania secretary, Jessica Munday, also highlighted the negative impact of the Religious Discrimination Bill on workplaces and the value of what she described as Tasmania's "gold-standard" anti-discrimination laws.
"What we don't need is to see the federal government come in and override our laws."
"They have been very good for productive relationships between employers and workers and have encouraged the development of inclusive policies for workers who would otherwise find it difficult in some workplaces."
Other groups and individuals who joined the TCCI and Unions Tasmania to condemn the override of Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Act included 
  • Disability Voices Tasmania, represented by its CEO, Michael Small
  • the Multicultural Council of Tasmania represented by its CEO, Duncan Spender 
  • Women's Health Tasmania represented by its CEO, Jo Flanagan 
  • the Independent Education Union represented by Tasmanian organiser, Dino Ottavi
  • former Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Robin Banks, and 
  • Equality Tasmania represented by its president, Rodney Croome
Tasmania is the state with the most to lose under the Religious Discrimination Bill override of state discrimination laws because it has the strongest legislation. 
The Federal Bill will weaken Tasmania's existing provisions: 
  • against humiliating and other bullying behaviour
  • that protect teachers, other staff and students in faith-based schools
  • that protect staff in, and clients of, other faith-based services
  • that protect clients of commercial services linked to faith-based organisations
As in other states, the Federal Bill will also 
  • weaken inclusive workplace policies 
  • weaken the power of professional bodies to discipline members who make demeaning and degrading remarks
  • override Council by-laws regulating street preachers who harass others 
  • override current or future legislation against conversion practices
To send a submission to the current inquiry into the Religious Discrimination Bill:
To sign the petition against a Tasmanian override:
A photo of those who attended the media conference is attached. From left to right: Jess Munday, Dino Ottavi, Michael Small, Robin Banks, Rodney Croome, Duncan Spender, Jo Flanagan and Michael Bailey.
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information or to speak to any of those at the media conference, call Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.