The majority voted in favour of disagreeing with amendments moved by Isaacs MP Mark Dreyfus (Labor), which means the amendments failed.

There was one rebellion, with Bass MP Bridget Archer (Liberal) crossing the floor to vote 'No' against the rest of her party, who voted 'Yes.'

What do the amendments do?

MP Isaacs explained that:

The amendments that Labor is moving now would introduce into this bill a provision to protect people from vilification on the grounds of their religious belief or practice. This is a very important provision that the government has deliberately left out of this bill, despite requests from a range of faith communities for such a provision to be included. Indeed, it's difficult to understand how the Prime Minister can insist on what he imagines is the desire of people of faith to be able to make discriminatory statements about other Australians in what would otherwise amount to a breach of state antidiscrimination laws while ignoring their clearly stated desire to be protected from vilification on the grounds of their faith.

Amendment text

(2) Clause 4, page 3, after line 30, insert:

Religious vilification is unlawful, with certain exceptions (see Part 4A).

(4) Clause 7, page 10 (line 8), omit “this Act”, substitute “Part 4”.

(10) Clause 9, page 12 (line 24), omit “this Act”, substitute “Part 4”.

(17) Clause 12, page 17 (line 15), omit “.”, substitute “; or”.

(18) Clause 12, page 17 (after line 15), after paragraph (2)(c), insert:

(d) that is unlawful under Part 4A (religious vilification).

(19) Clause 16, page 20 (line 12), omit “this Act”, substitute “Part 4”.

(21) Page 41 (after line 7), after Part 4, insert:

Part 4A — Religious vilification

48A Religious vilification unlawful

(1) It is unlawful for a person to engage in conduct, on the ground of the religious belief or activity of another person or group of persons, that:

(a) is not in private; and

(b) a reasonable person would consider would threaten, intimidate, harass or vilify the other person or group.

Note: Complaints can be made to the Australian Human Rights Commission about conduct that is unlawful under this Part (see the definition of unlawful discrimination in subsection 3(1) of the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986, and section 46P of that Act).

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), an act is taken not to be done in private if it:

(a) causes words, sounds, images or writing to be communicated to the public; or

(b) is done in a public place; or

(c) is done in the sight or hearing of people who are in a public place.

(3) P ublic place includes any place to which the public have access as of right or by invitation, whether express or implied and whether or not a charge is made for admission to the place.

48B Exceptions

(1) A person does not contravene section 48A if the person establishes that the person engaged in the conduct reasonably and in good faith:

(a) in the performance, exhibition or distribution of an artistic work; or

(b) in the course of any statement, publication, discussion or debate made or held, or any other conduct engaged in:

(i) for any genuine academic, artistic, religious or scientific purpose; or

(ii) for any purpose that is in the public interest; or

(iii) in making or publishing a fair and accurate report of any event or matter of public interest.

(2) For the purposes of subparagraph (1)(b)(i), a religious purpose includes, but is not limited to, conveying or teaching a religion or proselytising.

(22) Clause 49, page 42 (line 6), after “Part 4”, insert “or 4A”.

(23) Clause 50, page 43 (line 10), after “Part 4”, insert “or 4A”.

(24) Clause 51, page 44 (line 11), after “Part 4”, insert “or 4A”.

(25) Clause 70, page 57 (line 27), after “Part 4”, insert “or 4A”.

(26) Clause 70, page 58 (line 6), after “Part 4”, insert “or 4A”.

(27) Clause 73, page 59 (line 32), after “Part 4”, insert “or 4A”.

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 was 1 rebellion 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
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
Rob Mitchell McEwen 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
Terri Butler Griffith Absent
Nick Champion Spence Absent
Joel Fitzgibbon Hunter Absent
Matt Keogh Burt 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 (81% turnout) 43 Yes 1 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
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
Trent Zimmerman North Sydney Yes
Bridget Archer Bass 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
James Stevens Sturt 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 Absent
Craig Kelly Hughes United Australia Party Absent
Totals (81% turnout) 62 Yes – 61 No