Religious organisations and schools receiving government funding should not be exempt from anti-discrimination laws, says Australian Greens spokesperson for Legal Affairs Senator Penny Wright.
"Prime Minister Gillard needs to come clean with what she has promised to Jim Wallace and the Australian Christian Lobby and why," Senator Wright said.
"If she has made a promise that will adversely affect many Australians' ability to work and participate fully in Australian community life then we have a right to know what that promise was.
"The right-wing Australian Christian Lobby does not represent mainstream churches or the vast bulk of religious people in Australia and it should not be dictating anti-discrimination policy in Australia.
"Australia's anti-discrimination laws should be in line with international human rights standards. If any organisation is receiving public funding to provide a public service, they need to comply with widely-held community standards and anti-discrimination principles.
"Religious organisations and schools should not be treated differently to other entities; they should be held accountable. Equality is a core principle that underpins Australia's modern democracy and this should be protected under law.
"It is unacceptable that our laws currently allow schools to refuse enrolment of students based on their sexual orientation.
"More than a decade ago Tasmania removed the right of publicly funded schools, hospitals and charities to discriminate with no adverse impact at all.
"Removing discrimination is an evolutionary process - not that long ago it was common practice to discriminate on the basis of race and gender. Now it would be completely unacceptable. So why is it still acceptable to discriminate on the basis of sexuality or religion?
"Under the new bill, religious aged-care providers will no longer be covered by blanket exceptions from anti-discrimination laws and the Australians Greens believe this needs to be extended to all public service providers receiving government funding."