There are a number of protections for freedom of religion in Australian law.

At the federal level, a person may make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission or to the Fair Work Commission about discrimination on the basis of religion that occurs in the context of employment.

The Australian Human Rights Commission can also inquire into complaints about acts done or practices engaged in by, or on behalf of, the Commonwealth or under a Commonwealth law that are contrary to freedom of religion or belief.

At the State and Territory level, there are protections against discrimination on the basis of religion in all jurisdictions other than New South Wales and South Australia. Complaints may be made to relevant discrimination bodies in each jurisdiction. Queensland, Victoria and the ACT also have protections for freedom of religion in their respective Human Rights Acts.

Religious bodies and educational institutions also have protections for freedom of religion provided by way of the exemptions to the federal discrimination laws. The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) and the Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cth) allow religious bodies to discriminate against people in certain circumstances on grounds including their sex and age if the act conforms to the doctrines, tenets or beliefs of that religion or is necessary to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of adherents to that religion. The Sex Discrimination Act also allows religious educational institutions to discriminate on grounds including sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or relationship status or pregnancy in employment and the provision of education.

Publication Details
License type:
Access Rights Type: