Attorney General Michaelia Cash has said the Morrison Government’s controversial religious discrimination bill will make a comeback by the end of the year.
Senator Cash told The Australian she is meeting faith groups to consult on the legislation. She said she hopes to introduce it to parliament by December.
“Our government takes the issue of discrimination against Australians on the grounds of their religious beliefs seriously,” she said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison originally wanted the laws introduced to parliament by the end of 2019. Then-Attorney-General Christian Porter unveiled a second draft of the bill that December.
However many slammed that draft bill as flawed and unfair. LGBTIQ advocates blasted the second draft as discriminatory and even worse than the original.
Last weekend, religious thinktank Freedom for Faith held a “religious freedom weekend”.
They urged Australians of faith to pray for religious freedom and lobby their MPs to pass a “robust” bill.
“Freedom for Faith is calling on the Government to follow through on their promise to pass the Religious Discrimination Bill before the next election,” they said.
“We understand the impact of the pandemic, but we now ask that the parliament make it a priority.”
Religious discrimination laws must protect everyone equally
Equality Australia says the Attorney-General must “deliver a proposal that protects everyone in our community, regardless of belief, equally.”
They warn the bill mustn’t erode the rights of the LGBTIQ community or create unequal protections privileging people of faith.
“Our laws should protect us all, equally,” spokesperson Anna Brown said.
“However right now, federal laws already allow LGBT teachers, students and staff to be fired, expelled or treated unfairly by faith-based schools and education institutions, simply because of their sexual or gender identity.
“Instead of prioritising laws that privilege religious institutions and entrench new forms of discrimination, the government must deliver on its 2018 commitment to protect students at school, and wind back exemptions that allow religious institutions to treat people unfairly.
“Every one of us deserves protection from discrimination, no matter who we are, whom we love, or what we believe.
“But the government’s draft Religious Discrimination Bill contains unprecedented provisions that would undermine access to healthcare and inclusive workplaces.”
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