Ian Thorpe, writer Benjamin Law and sports star Lauren Jackson have spoken out about the Religious Discrimination Bill in a new video for Equality Australia.
In the video, they join a group of Australians speaking on behalf of people with HIV, people with a disability, and people of faith to highlight concerns with the bill.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Attorney-General Christian Porter unveiled a reworked second draft of the religious discrimination bill last week.
But Equality Australia say the draft laws are “unacceptable” and want supporters to contact MPs asking them to oppose the bill in parliament in 2020.
Ian Thorpe said, “This is a country of the fair go, where all Australians have the right to be protected from discrimination.
“Especially in important areas like healthcare, aged care and the provision of accommodation.
“I urge all Australians to speak up, to talk to their Member of Parliament and tell them that our laws should protect all of us, equally.”
Equality Australia says religious discrimination bill will divide communities
Equality Australia highlight two areas of concern around the bill: workplace discrimination and healthcare.
The Religious Discrimination Bill strengthens the ability for doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists to refuse treatment to patients on religious grounds.
The Bill prioritises religious views of health professionals over patients’ needs, Equality Australia says.
In workplaces, Equality Australia says the bill’s “No Consequences clause” will prevent big employers from creating inclusive workplaces.
“This Bill divides our communities, provides different standards for different people, and allow people with extreme views to define their own rules,” Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown said.
“Contrary to the assurances made by the Prime Minister this isn’t a Bill for people of faith and of no faith. A double standard exists in the Religious Discrimination Bill.
“It privileges religious institutions to the detriment of Australians who hold different beliefs, or no religious belief at all. [It does this] in employment, education settings, and in the provision of goods and services.
Anna Brown said even faith-based organisations were opposing the bill in increasing numbers.
“This Bill is unnecessary and should not proceed to Parliament,” she said.
Equality Australia have set up a webform to allow people to read more about the bill and contact their MPs.
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