Youth Parliament decides religious institutions should not be exempt from discrimation law

Bendigo’s controversial Bill that proposed changes to the Equal Opportunity Act to remove the exemptions of religious institutions has passed Youth Parliament.

In Parliamentary debate sessions, the Bill faced examination and questioning regarding whether or not religious institutions should be allowed to discriminate based on personal characteristics.

“The current legislation places them above the law,” said Karl Strybosch, from the Bendigo team, speaking fromt he Government side.

The opposition said that the proposed Bill would not stop discrimination. “If there is a will, there is a way,” said Natasha Young, refuting.

“We must question its real world effectiveness,” said Claire Rose of Melbourne Girls College. She said the Bill proposed was “a band-aid hiding the discrimination that will still occur.”

However the government said nobody has the right to discriminate. “Discrimination is never, I repeat, never, acceptable,” said Sophie Rhule, sponsoring.

“Quite simply religion should not be above the law. The Act is out of date,” said Emilia Eagling-Every, sponsoring.

The Bill passed with amendments.

by Bonny Burrows