The majority voted in favour of disagreeing with an amendment introduced by Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie (Centre Alliance), which means the amendment failed.

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

What would this amendment do?

MP Sharkie explained that:

We should not cherrypick and provide protections for students while the teachers who teach those children are left with no protection from sexual discrimination. What message does that send to the students if they see that their teacher is dismissed because of their sexuality, gender or marital status? Think about it. The young people see the hypocrisy here—protection for some and not for others.

We need to ensure that teachers and contract workers in educational settings are protected from sexual discrimination in their employment. We need to make sure that students are protected. So this amendment will rightly protect students and teachers and contract workers in religious schools from being subjected to discrimination on the grounds of their sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or relationship status or indeed pregnancy status by amending section 37 and removing section 38 in its entirety.

Amendment text

(2) Schedule 1, page 6 (after line 10), at the end of the Schedule, add:

10 At the end of section 37


(3) Paragraph (1)(d) does not apply to an act or practice of an educational institution that is conducted in accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings of a particular religion or creed if the act or practice is in connection with employment, education or training provided by the educational institution.

11 Section 38

Repeal the section.

What does the bill do?

According to the bill homepage, the bill was introduced with the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 and Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2021 in order to amend the following bills:

  • Age Discrimination Act 2004,
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992,
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and
  • Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

The bill's amendments will ensure that, when enforcing these bills:

regard must be had to the indivisibility and universality of human rights and their equal status in international law, and the principle that every person is free and equal in their dignity and rights.

The bill also amends the Charities Act 2013 and Marriage Act 1961 in order to ensure that:

to provide that otherwise charitable entities that engage in lawful activities promoting a traditional view of marriage are undertaking those activities for the public benefit and not contrary to public policy; and to allow religious educational institutions to refuse to provide facilities, goods or services in relation to the solemnisation of a marriage in accordance with their religious beliefs.

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 large majority

There were 3 rebellions in this division.

Party Votes
Adam Bandt Melbourne Australian Greens No
Australian Labor Party (19% turnout) 13 Yes 0 No
Tony Burke Watson Yes
Linda Burney Barton Yes
Sharon Claydon Newcastle Yes
Milton Dick Oxley Yes
Mark Dreyfus Isaacs Yes
Steve Georganas Adelaide Yes
Andrew Giles Scullin Yes
Chris Hayes Fowler Yes
Andrew Leigh Fenner Yes
Richard Marles Corio Yes
Anne Stanley Werriwa Yes
Tim Watts Gellibrand Yes
Tony Zappia Makin Yes
Anthony Albanese Grayndler Absent
Anne Aly Cowan Absent
Sharon Bird Cunningham Absent
Chris Bowen McMahon Absent
Josh Burns Macnamara Absent
Mark Butler Hindmarsh Absent
Terri Butler Griffith Absent
Anthony Byrne Holt Absent
Jim Chalmers Rankin Absent
Nick Champion Spence Absent
Lisa Chesters Bendigo Absent
Jason Clare Blaxland Absent
Libby Coker Corangamite Absent
Julie Collins Franklin Absent
Pat Conroy Shortland Absent
Justine Elliot Richmond Absent
Joel Fitzgibbon Hunter Absent
Mike Freelander Macarthur Absent
Patrick Gorman Perth Absent
Luke Gosling Solomon Absent
Julian Hill Bruce Absent
Ed Husic Chifley Absent
Stephen Jones Whitlam Absent
Ged Kearney Cooper Absent
Matt Keogh Burt Absent
Peter Khalil Wills Absent
Catherine King Ballarat Absent
Madeleine King Brand Absent
Kristy McBain Eden-Monaro Absent
Emma McBride Dobell Absent
Brian Mitchell Lyons Absent
Rob Mitchell McEwen Absent
Daniel Mulino Fraser Absent
Peta Murphy Dunkley Absent
Shayne Neumann Blair Absent
Brendan O'Connor Gorton Absent
Clare O'Neil Hotham Absent
Julie Owens Parramatta Absent
Alicia Payne Canberra Absent
Graham Perrett Moreton Absent
Fiona Phillips Gilmore Absent
Tanya Plibersek Sydney Absent
Amanda Rishworth Kingston Absent
Michelle Rowland Greenway Absent
Joanne Ryan Lalor Absent
Bill Shorten Maribyrnong Absent
David Smith Bean Absent
Warren Snowdon Lingiari Absent
Meryl Swanson Paterson Absent
Susan Templeman Macquarie Absent
Matt Thistlethwaite Kingsford Smith Absent
Kate Thwaites Jagajaga Absent
Maria Vamvakinou Calwell Absent
Anika Wells Lilley 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 (74% turnout) 37 Yes 3 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
Nicolle Flint Boothby Yes
Josh Frydenberg Kooyong Yes
Ian Goodenough Moore Yes
Alex Hawke Mitchell Yes
Greg Hunt Flinders Yes
Steve Irons Swan Yes
Sussan Ley Farrer Yes
Nola Marino Forrest 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
Rick Wilson O'Connor Yes
Tim Wilson Goldstein Yes
Ken Wyatt Hasluck Yes
Bridget Archer Bass No
Fiona Martin Reid No
Trent Zimmerman North Sydney No
Vince Connelly Stirling Absent
Paul Fletcher Bradfield Absent
Celia Hammond Curtin Absent
Andrew Hastie Canning Absent
Luke Howarth Petrie Absent
Andrew Laming Bowman 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
Lucy Wicks Robertson Absent
Jason Wood La Trobe 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 (51% turnout) 69 Yes – 8 No