LGBTI advocacy group just.equal has called for the religious freedom inquiry led by Philip Ruddock to make its submissions public.
The call was made in response to news this week that the submissions will not be published.
“The misuse of religious freedom to justify discrimination is an important issue for many LGBTI Australians and we have a right to know what different interest groups are influencing our federal government.
“It is the height of hypocrisy for an inquiry into freedom of religion, conscience and speech to keep its submissions under wraps.
“It is astonishing that the Turnbull government would make submissions secret when this review could entirely re-shape Australian anti-discrimination law.
“It begs the question, what has the government got to hide?”
The advocacy group has backed calls by The Greens for a Senate inquiry into an Australian bill of rights, saying it would be the best way to protect LGBTI equality and religious freedom.
“Australia was one of the last western countries to enact marriage equality because we do not have a national charter of rights to set a standard of legal equality for minorities,” said just.equal spokesperson Rodney Croome.
“A charter of rights is also the best way to ensure freedom of religion, conscience and speech are protected and balanced with other rights.
“We have launched a petition to the Ruddock inquiry into religious freedom that calls for the inquiry to endorse a charter of rights.
“We also call on both major parties and the cross-bench to support The Greens’ move to refer a charter of rights to a Senate inquiry.”
Nick McKim, justice spokesperson for The Greens, has called for the Senate to back an inquiry into an Australian bill or charter of rights, and is using the Ruddock inquiry to increase momentum for the reform.