No state role in religion bill final talks

Greens Senator for Victoria Janet Rice (file image)
Senator Janet Rice says it's outrageous the department didn't consult with states or territories. -AAP Image

The attorney-general's department has revealed it didn't meet with any state or territory counterparts on the final draft of the religious discrimination bill.

In answers to questions taken on notice from a parliamentary hearing into the bill, the department said there was no meetings between the end of the second draft consultation and the introduction of the religious discrimination bill into the parliament. 

When asked if the department ever reached out for meetings with state and territory counterparts about schools preferencing teachers of certain religions, it referred to its answer saying there had been no meetings. 

States including Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT have come out against the bill, saying it enables discrimination of minority groups such as the LGBT+ community, and would override local anti-discrimination laws. 

The department said it had obtained legal advice and federal government powers bestowed by the constitution were consistent with the proposed legislation.

Greens senator Janet Rice, who initially asked the question during the hearing, told AAP it's outrageous the department didn't consult with states or territories about a bill that would override state and territory laws. 

"Instead of being consultative, it's clear the Morrison government are scrambling to try to appease their far-right base and groups like the Australian Christian Lobby before the upcoming election," she said.

"This bill is unprecedented overreach by the government and is unlike any other federal anti-discrimination law."