Your health isn’t probably the first thing you think about when you hear talk about the Federal Government’s Religious Discrimination Bill. But the fact is it could have significant negative impacts on the equitable provision of health care.
The current draft of the Bill would mean that many people who use health and community services are at risk of having their rights denied or disrespected, as individual health practitioners could refuse to perform certain procedures or dispense certain drugs (as long as they refuse to do so for all patients). This means people may be the subject of unfavourable religious views, including those seeking access to reproductive services, transgender services and/or contraception, will find it harder to access health care from health professionals.
The LGBTIQ+ community, vulnerable women, minority faith communities and people with disabilities already face barriers to accessing care. This Bill will jeopardise the ability of many people to find health care that is compassionate and non-judgemental.
We take pride in providing safe and high-quality healthcare for all people without discrimination. We firmly believe that no one should be discriminated against because of their religion, but despite its name, the Religious Discrimination Bill actually could allow discrimination to continue. Whilst we have every confidence in community health workers upholding the inclusive values of our sector, we believe that laws that privilege religious views over patient health are unacceptable.
That’s why we are joining colleagues from across the sector to urge Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Attorney-General Christian Porter to ensure that no part of the Religious Discrimination Bill privileges religious interest above the interest of other Australians.
Read our joint statement.