Labor under pressure to oppose Religious Discrimination Bill

mark dreyfus tanya plibersek religious discrimination bill
Images: ABC/YouTube, YouTube

Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek has defended her party’s response to the Morrison Government’s Religious Discrimination Bill, as LGBTIQ advocates call on the party to oppose it outright.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced the controversial draft legislation last week. On Thursday, the last parliamentary sitting day of the year, the legislation didn’t go to a vote in the Lower House as expected.

Labor shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus lashed the Morrison government for “inappropriately” trying to push it through.

But Labor has come under fire for refusing to declare a position on the Bill until after two parliamentary inquiries over summer. Both committees will report next February.

LGBTIQ group just.equal has started a new email campaign to call on Labor MPs and Senators to oppose the legislation.

Tanya Plibersek defends Labor’s response to Bill

Appearing on ABC Radio on Wednesday, Plibersek responded to a text message on the issue sent in from a listener on the issue.

The listener – a constitutent of Plibersek – pressed her on reports Labor would’ve voted for the Bill had it gone to a vote on Thursday.

“Why is it okay for LGBTIQ people to be collateral damage in [Labor’s] pursuit of the religious vote?” the constituent asked.

Plibersek replied, “It’s absolutely not okay for anyone to be collateral damage.

“We’ve received the legislation, its going off to a parliamentary inquiry. We’ll be examining it closely.

“No one should be discriminated against on the basis of their religion.

“But greater protections for people… should not result in fewer protections for any other group in our society.”

Host Fran Kelly asked if Labor would oppose contentious parts of the Morrison Government’s draft overruling current state discrimination laws.

Plibersek responded, “We’ve been very clear we don’t want to see greater protections for some, come at the expense of fewer protections for others.

“It’s detailed legislation. We’re looking at it through a parliamentary inquiry at the moment.

“The principle that we will adhere to is – we won’t accept greater protections for some, coming at the expense of other people in our community.”

Advocates pressure Labor on Religious Discrimination Bill

Earlier this week, LGBTIQ group just.equal started a campaign calling on federal Labor to reject the Religious Discrimination Bill outright.

The group’s webform allows those concerned about the Religious Discrimination Bill to email Labor MPs urging them to oppose it.

The campaign “calls on Labor to oppose special rights in the name of religion and to vote as a bloc against this Bill.”

Spokesperson Brian Grieg said Labor “has to hear the message that the Bill diminishes discrimination protections significantly.”

The Religious Discrimination Bill will override state and federal discrimination laws with its provisions. Most of those laws are Labor legacies, he said.

“Labor’s motivation is to appeal to religious voters who will never vote for it,” Grieg said.

“Rather than stopping the very real disadvantage this Bill will inflict on minority communities whose votes it has taken for granted for too long.

“Many LGBTIQ+ Australians will see Labor’s decision to not oppose the Bill as a betrayal of Labor’s legacy, minority communities and LGBTIQ+ equality.”

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1 Comment

  1. Steven of Penrith NSW
    3 December 2021

    I remember when Labor opposed and voted against SSM – how very convenient indeed! Penny Wong said marriage is a union between a man and a woman not long ago and she is a lesbian?


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