A draft of the controversial Religious Discrimination Bill has been released to the public by Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter, and it has been hit with some mixed reactions to say the least.

There’s a lot to unpack here, so sit down and grab a snack.

A summary of the proposed bill says:

“Religious belief is intended to include beliefs associated with major faith traditions (such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or Judaism) in addition to the beliefs of smaller and emerging faith traditions. However, it is not intended to capture beliefs caused by mental illness or that are motivated by criminal intent.”

“Religious activity may include participating in religious observances (such as prayers, fasting, ceremonies or other holidays); wearing religious dress (such as a hijab, kippah or kirpan); and not engaging in certain conduct in accordance with religious belief (such as not eating meat or drinking alcohol).”

Put simply, if the bill is passed, you won’t be able to discriminate against someone for expressing their genuine religious beliefs, according to the ABC.

Basically, this means that cases like Israel Folau’s dismissal from Rugby Australia would be considered illegal.

The draft bill proposes additional requirements for businesses earning over $50 million annually in regards to forms of religious freedom of expression. This would mean that Rugby Australia would need to prove that Folau’s comments directly impacted their brand in a negative way, while Folau would probably disagree.

According to Mr Porter, big businesses attempting to control what their employees do outside of work hours is a violation of freedom of speech.

The bill also will allow organisations to employ staff on the basis of religious faith, according to SMH. This means Catholic schools could require staff to be members of the Catholic faith, and religious doctors could reserve the right not to perform abortions or see LGBTQI+ patients based on their own religious beliefs. Under the draft bill, none of this would be considered discrimination.

Religious discrimination is a very real thing, which makes this a big grey area. Yes, you should have the right to practice whatever religion you choose. But your right to religious freedom ends at the point where it imposes on someone else’s safety, freedom or rights.

But this all gets really messy when the leader of your country is a deeply religious man who blatantly doesn’t represent the LGBTQI community. There is nothing wrong with religion, or having a religious leader. But much like Gladys Berejiklian refused to let her personal views on abortion influence her political decisions, Scott Morrison shouldn’t be able to let his religion influence this bill.

“I do not want religion to be an issue that divides Australians, it is deeply personal for people, I want to work through it in a way that enhances unity, not for political purposes,” Morrison said earlier this year.

Considering only about 60% of Australians identify as religious according to the 2016 census, it seems wild that we’re more worried about protecting religious freedom rather than the equal rights of vulnerable people like the LGBTQI+ community.

The bill looks like it’ll be introduced to Parliament in October after further tweaking and input from members of the community and parliament. A Senate inquiry and a final vote should be made before Christmas.

Whether you’re for or against the new bill, you can submit your thoughts here before it’s introduced to parliament.

Image: AAP / James Ross