The same number of MPs voted for and against a motion to disagree with the opposition amendment to government amendment (8) so the Speaker made a casting vote with the 'Yes' votes, meaning that the opposition amendment failed.

There were two rebellions, with Bass MP Bridget Archer (Liberal) and North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman (Liberal) crossing the floor to vote 'No' against the rest of their party, who voted 'Yes.'

Does does the opposition amendment do?

Isaacs MP Mark Dreyfus (Labor) explained that:

there has been a lot of disagreement about what clause 12—the statements of belief clause in this bill—would allow and what it would not allow. The government says that the clause simply clarifies that there is no law against a person making a statement of belief. But disability groups, human rights groups, women's groups, aged-care organisations, the Australian Medical Association, LGBTIQ groups and the Law Council of Australia have raised alarm. Lawyers can argue about the precise legal impact of this provision, but it is impossible to escape the fact that the provision is drafted in a way that suggests people of faith should be able to discriminate against other Australians on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, age and disability, particularly in Tasmania, which is singled out in this provision. This is what the provision says. It literally says that a statement of belief will not constitute discrimination under any of Australia's existing antidiscrimination laws. All of Australia's antidiscrimination laws in each of the states and territories are actually listed in this clause, and so too is a specific provision of Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act.

Labor does not believe that people of faith in Australia are seeking a special right to discriminate against people on the basis of disability or gender or race or sexual orientation or any other protected attribute. We agree that the mere expression of a non-malicious statement of belief should not contravene any Australian law, and we want to reassure people of faith on that front. We stand ready to work with the government on a better way of providing that reassurance, if it can be done in a way that does not remove protections against discrimination. But a law that says, on its face, that one group of Australians should be allowed to discriminate against other Australians is not the way to do it. Quite apart from the precise legal impact of the provision, it sends the wrong signal—a very divisive signal.

Opposition amendment text

(1) Amendment (8), omit subclauses (1) to (1B), substitute:

(1) To avoid doubt, making a statement of belief does not, in and of itself, constitute discrimination for the purposes of this Act.

What does the bill do?

According to the bill homepage, the bill was introduced with the Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2021 and Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 in order to:

  • prohibit discrimination on the basis of a person’s religious belief or activity in a range of areas of public life, including in relation to employment, education, access to premises and the provision of goods, services and accommodation;
  • establish general and specific exceptions from the prohibition of religious discrimination;
  • provide that certain statements of belief do not constitute discrimination for the purposes of certain specified Commonwealth, state or territory anti-discrimination laws;
  • create offences in relation to victimisation and discriminatory advertisements;
  • establish the office of the Religious Discrimination Commissioner;
  • confer certain functions on the Australian Human Rights Commission; and
  • provide for miscellaneous matters including delegation of powers or functions, protection from civil actions and a review of the operation of the Act.

SBS News has provided a good summary of the more controversial parts of the bill, including an explanation for each rebellion that occurred during the long debate. According to this summary, the key areas for concern were:

  • the parts of the bill that allowed religious schools to discriminate on the basis of sexuality and gender identity;
  • the "statement of belief" that seems to protect people expressing religious beliefs even if they're offensive and therefore seem to override existing anti-discrimination protections; and
  • the fact that the bill does not outlaw vilification of people of faith.

Votes Passed by a small majority

There were 2 rebellions in this division.

Party Votes
Adam Bandt Melbourne Australian Greens No
Australian Labor Party (81% turnout) 0 Yes 55 No
Anthony Albanese Grayndler No
Chris Bowen McMahon No
Tony Burke Watson No
Linda Burney Barton No
Josh Burns Macnamara No
Terri Butler Griffith No
Anthony Byrne Holt No
Jim Chalmers Rankin No
Lisa Chesters Bendigo No
Jason Clare Blaxland No
Sharon Claydon Newcastle No
Libby Coker Corangamite No
Julie Collins Franklin No
Pat Conroy Shortland No
Milton Dick Oxley No
Mark Dreyfus Isaacs No
Justine Elliot Richmond No
Mike Freelander Macarthur No
Steve Georganas Adelaide No
Andrew Giles Scullin No
Patrick Gorman Perth No
Luke Gosling Solomon No
Chris Hayes Fowler No
Julian Hill Bruce No
Ed Husic Chifley No
Stephen Jones Whitlam No
Ged Kearney Cooper No
Peter Khalil Wills No
Catherine King Ballarat No
Madeleine King Brand No
Andrew Leigh Fenner No
Richard Marles Corio No
Kristy McBain Eden-Monaro No
Emma McBride Dobell No
Brian Mitchell Lyons No
Shayne Neumann Blair No
Brendan O'Connor Gorton No
Clare O'Neil Hotham No
Julie Owens Parramatta No
Graham Perrett Moreton No
Fiona Phillips Gilmore No
Amanda Rishworth Kingston No
Michelle Rowland Greenway No
Joanne Ryan Lalor No
Bill Shorten Maribyrnong No
David Smith Bean No
Warren Snowdon Lingiari No
Anne Stanley Werriwa No
Meryl Swanson Paterson No
Susan Templeman Macquarie No
Matt Thistlethwaite Kingsford Smith No
Kate Thwaites Jagajaga No
Tim Watts Gellibrand No
Anika Wells Lilley No
Tony Zappia Makin No
Anne Aly Cowan Absent
Sharon Bird Cunningham Absent
Mark Butler Hindmarsh Absent
Nick Champion Spence Absent
Joel Fitzgibbon Hunter Absent
Matt Keogh Burt Absent
Rob Mitchell McEwen Absent
Daniel Mulino Fraser Absent
Peta Murphy Dunkley Absent
Alicia Payne Canberra Absent
Tanya Plibersek Sydney Absent
Maria Vamvakinou Calwell Absent
Josh Wilson Fremantle Absent
Rebekha Sharkie Mayo Centre Alliance No
Mark Coulton Parkes Deputy Speaker Yes
Craig Kelly Hughes Independent Yes
Helen Haines Indi Independent No
Zali Steggall Warringah Independent No
Andrew Wilkie Clark Independent No
Bob Katter Kennedy Katter's Australian Party Yes
Liberal National Party (80% turnout) 4 Yes 0 No
Angie Bell Moncrieff Yes
Garth Hamilton Groom Yes
Julian Simmonds Ryan Yes
Phillip Thompson Herbert Yes
Terry Young Longman Absent
Liberal Party (83% turnout) 43 Yes 2 No
John Alexander Bennelong Yes
Katie Allen Higgins Yes
Karen Andrews McPherson Yes
Kevin Andrews Menzies Yes
Russell Broadbent Monash Yes
Scott Buchholz Wright Yes
David Coleman Banks Yes
Peter Dutton Dickson Yes
Warren Entsch Leichhardt Yes
Trevor Evans Brisbane Yes
Jason Falinski Mackellar Yes
Paul Fletcher Bradfield Yes
Nicolle Flint Boothby Yes
Josh Frydenberg Kooyong Yes
Ian Goodenough Moore Yes
Alex Hawke Mitchell Yes
Luke Howarth Petrie Yes
Greg Hunt Flinders Yes
Steve Irons Swan Yes
Andrew Laming Bowman Yes
Sussan Ley Farrer Yes
Nola Marino Forrest Yes
Fiona Martin Reid Yes
Melissa McIntosh Lindsay Yes
Scott Morrison Cook Yes
Ben Morton Tangney Yes
Ted O'Brien Fairfax Yes
Tony Pasin Barker Yes
Gavin Pearce Braddon Yes
Christian Porter Pearce Yes
Rowan Ramsey Grey Yes
Dave Sharma Wentworth Yes
Tony Smith Casey Yes
James Stevens Sturt Yes
Michael Sukkar Deakin Yes
Angus Taylor Hume Yes
Bert Van Manen Forde Yes
Ross Vasta Bonner Yes
Lucy Wicks Robertson Yes
Rick Wilson O'Connor Yes
Tim Wilson Goldstein Yes
Jason Wood La Trobe Yes
Ken Wyatt Hasluck Yes
Bridget Archer Bass No
Trent Zimmerman North Sydney No
Vince Connelly Stirling Absent
Celia Hammond Curtin Absent
Andrew Hastie Canning Absent
Julian Leeser Berowra Absent
Gladys Liu Chisholm Absent
Melissa Price Durack Absent
Stuart Robert Fadden Absent
Dan Tehan Wannon Absent
Alan Tudge Aston Absent
National Party (80% turnout) 12 Yes 0 No
Darren Chester Gippsland Yes
Pat Conaghan Cowper Yes
Damian Drum Nicholls Yes
David Gillespie Lyne Yes
Kevin Hogan Page Yes
Barnaby Joyce New England Yes
Michelle Landry Capricornia Yes
David Littleproud Maranoa Yes
Michael McCormack Riverina Yes
Llew O'Brien Wide Bay Yes
Ken O'Dowd Flynn Yes
Keith Pitt Hinkler Yes
George Christensen Dawson Absent
Andrew Gee Calare Absent
Anne Webster Mallee Absent
Andrew Wallace Fisher Speaker Yes
Craig Kelly Hughes United Australia Party Absent
Totals (83% turnout) 63 Yes – 62 No