Previous Inquiries

Extensive consultations have been undertaken previously on the issues under examination in the inquiry into Religious Educational Institutions and Anti-Discrimination Laws. The ALRC is considering submissions and reported findings from previous inquiries, in addition to key reports, published over almost 40 years, from 1984-2022, at both Federal and State or Territory levels. These reports have been published by:

  • State and Territory governments
  • Attorney-General’s Departments (Cth and state/territory)
  • Parliamentary committees (Cth)
  • Law reform commissions (Cth and state/territory)
  • Equal opportunity, human rights and sex discrimination commissions (Cth and state/territory)

Insights from reported findings and recommendations made from past inquiries, alongside consultation findings from this current inquiry, will inform proposals and recommendations made by the ALRC.

List of past relevant inquiries and key reports


Queensland Human Rights Commission, Building Belonging: Review of Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (2022) 

Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, Review of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (WA) (2022) 

ACT Government, Listening Report (2022) 

Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, Inquiry Report on the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 and Related Bills (2022) 

Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Affairs Committee, Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 [Provisions]; Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2021 [Provisions] and Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 [Provisions] (2022) 


Australian Human Rights Commission, Free and Equal: A reform agenda for federal discrimination laws (2021) 

ACT Justice and Community Safety Directorate, Inclusive, Progressive, Equal: Discrimination Law Reform – Discussion Paper 1, Extending the Protections of Discrimination Law (2021) 


Religious Discrimination Bill 2019 Second Exposure Draft, 290 published submissions (no report)


House of Representatives Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Freedom of Religion and Belief, the Australian Experience: Inquiry into the Status of the Human Right to Freedom of Religion Belief (2019) 


Expert Panel (Chaired by Philip Ruddock), Religious Freedom Review: Report of the Expert Panel (2018) 

Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, Legislative exemptions that allow faith-based educational institutions to discriminate against students, teachers and staff (2018) 


Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Parliament of Australia, Legal Foundations of Religious Freedom in Australia (2017)

Attorney-General’s Department (NT), Discussion Paper: Modernisation of the Anti-Discrimination Act (2017) 


South Australian Law Reform Institute, ‘Lawful Discrimination’: Exceptions under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) to Unlawful Discrimination on the Grounds of Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Intersex Status (2016) 

Australian Law Reform Commission, Traditional Rights and Freedoms (ALRC Report 129, 2016) 


Australian Human Rights Commission, Religious Freedom Roundtable: Issues Paper (2015) 


Australian Human Rights Commission (Professor Gary Bouma, Professor Desmond Cahill, Dr Hass Dellal, and Athalia Zwartz), Freedom of religion and belief in 21st century Australia: A research report prepared for the Australian Human Rights Commission (2011) 

Australian Human Rights Commission, Addressing sexual orientation and sex and/or gender identity discrimination: Consultation Report (2011) 


SARC, Parliament of Victoria, Exceptions and Exemptions to the Equal Opportunity Act 1995: Final Report (2009) 


Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Conviction with compassion: a report on freedom of religion and belief (2000) 


NSW Law Reform Commission, Review of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) (Report 92, 1999) 


Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Article 18: Freedom of religion and belief (1998) 


Australian Law Reform Commission, Equality before the Law: Justice for Women (ALRC Report 69, Part 1, 1994) 


Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Report on Review of Permanent Exemptions under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (1992)

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, Halfway to Equal: Report of the Inquiry into Equal Opportunity and Equal Status for Women in Australia (Lavarch Report, 1992)


NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, Discrimination and religious conviction: a report of the Anti-Discrimination Board in accordance with Section 119 (a) of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (1984)