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Religious anti-discrimination legislation and the negotiation of difference in Victoria, Australia


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Ezzy, D ORCID: 0000-0002-5078-2288, Banham, R ORCID: 0000-0001-8182-4017 and Beaman, LG 2022 , 'Religious anti-discrimination legislation and the negotiation of difference in Victoria, Australia' , Religion, State and Society, vol. 50, no. 1 , pp. 22-39 , doi: 10.1080/09637494.2021.2010906.

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This article examines the role of anti-discrimination legislation in thenegotiation of religious difference in the Australian state of Victoria.We argue for the importance of a relational conceptualisation of thenegotiation of religious diversity that draws on concepts of etiquetteand limitations, deep equality, and substantive equality. The Victorianlegislation allows the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)to ‘mediate’ the relationships between the people and groups thatcome before it. VCAT mediates relationships in three ways: 1. Providinga forum for constructive intervention in cases of problematic tensionbetween groups, and in doing so facilitating the development of an‘etiquette’ for the negotiation of power dynamics, typically between(historically) empowered and disempowered groups in Australia. 2.Providing a forum for making transparent examples of latent andcovert discrimination and exclusion, encouraging participants toengage in reflection upon potential future courses of action. 3. Theprovision (or refusal) of exemptions to the Equal Opportunity Act,providing guidance about the management of religious difference inthe public sphere.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Ezzy, D and Banham, R and Beaman, LG
Keywords: religious diversity, anti-discrimination legislation, shadow of the law, religious difference, equal opportunity legislation
Journal or Publication Title: Religion, State and Society
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 0963-7494
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/09637494.2021.2010906
Copyright Information:

© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

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