Former Liberal Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock concedes the review he led into religious freedom found little evidence that discrimination is occurring.
A review into religious freedoms in Australia found little evidence of discrimination, leader of the probe Phillip Ruddock concedes.
"We didn't find a lot of evidence of actual material discrimination that would be of concern," the former Liberal Attorney-General told ABC radio on Friday.
"But where we did, we brought forward some recommendations to help deal with it."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison released the long-awaited report on Thursday, announcing plans to establish a Religious Discrimination Act.
But a protracted effort to end discrimination against gay students in faith-based schools may not be resolved until later next year.
Mr Ruddock says Australia's international obligations mean there has to be a balanced approach to the issue.
"Freedom of religion gives you certainly protection to have your beliefs, but it doesn't mean you can infringe other fundamental human rights," he said.
However, safety considerations could trump religious obligations to wear face coverings.
"In relation to issues of safety and security and appropriate identification, there may have to be circumstances in which you have to uncover your face," Mr Ruddock said.
"And that would be part and parcel of a reasonable society's requirements, but more broadly, you would respect the fact people do have a dress code."
Mr Ruddock is not opposed to the prime minister's idea of a religious freedom commissioner to handle religious discrimination complaints, even though it was not recommended by the review.
The prime minister wants the new laws to prevent religious discrimination in place before the next election.
"For those who think that Australians of religious faith don't feel that the walls have been closing in on them for a while, they're clearly not talking to many people in religious communities," he said in Sydney on Thursday.
But with so few sitting weeks left before a potential election in May, the time frame is ambitious and could spill over into the campaign.
Mr Morrison wants to refer legislation preventing religious schools from discriminating against students on the basis of sexuality to the Australian Law Reform Commission.
He expects the ALRC review to be completed in the second half of next year, after the next election.
Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus says the prime minister is failing to keep his promise to protect LGBTI students.
The government could easily remove the exemption which would ensure schools can't discriminate against such students, but were instead making the issue unnecessarily broad, he added.
"Even the Ruddock review did not identify any real threat to religious freedom," he said.