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Statement on the Religious Discrimination Bill

Everyone is welcome at our table

11 February 2020

Sacred Heart Mission joins a coalition of community service organisations with a faith background to speak out on the Religious Discrimination Bill.

Since 1982, Sacred Heart Mission as a Catholic Social Service organisation has aspired to be the church in action by serving the marginalized and vulnerable members of our community with love, respect, justice, hope and joy.

Our vision is of a fair and compassionate community in which people can realise their potential. We do this by respecting the dignity of every individual, by sharing our hope, and by encouraging people to regain control of their lives.

Our values require us to question and challenge unjust social structures which may cause harm and disadvantage, and to advocate for those who do not have a voice in these conversations.

It is our view that the draft Religious Discrimination Bill will allow people and organisations to use faith as a means to cause harm, including excluding people from accessing essential services.

Religious freedom must be balanced against the rights of all people.

Religious organisations such as ours have demonstrated that it is possible to uphold the religious faith on which our work is founded, providing services to anyone who needs them, while at the same time respecting the diverse faith of our workforce, volunteers, clients and residents.

Sacred Heart Mission engages a diversity of people, staff and volunteers, to work across a wide range of services and in our opportunity shops, we do not discriminate on the basis of religion, race, disability, gender or sexual orientation. It is not our intention to do so, even in the event of a change in legislation.

Our organisation, services and shops are places of welcome.

Today we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that our services and workplaces are safe and welcoming for all people, regardless of their sexuality, gender orientation, marital status, ability or beliefs.

We also join with other community service organisations with a faith background to speak out on the Religious Discrimination Bill, to urge the Government not to implement the Religious Discrimination Bill as proposed.

Our laws should protect all of us, equally.

Cathy Humphrey
CEO

pdf Download the joint statement by Victoria’s most prominent faith-based and religious community service organisations here. (243 KB)

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Sacred Heart Mission respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we operate our services. We pay our respects to the ongoing living cultures of Aboriginal peoples, and to Elders past, present and future.
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