One Nation’s Mark Latham has his very own religious freedom bill

mark latham religious freedom bill religious discrimination bill
Photos: Sky News/Pixabay

Mark Latham’s own religious discrimination legislation, currently before the NSW Parliament, has been panned by LGBTIQ advocates.

Latham is One Nation’s leader in the New South Wales parliament. He introduced the controversial Bill to amend the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act to the Upper House earlier this year.

In a speech on the Bill, Latham invoked Margaret Court and Israel Folau and claimed “the fastest growing form of discrimination in our society is against people of religious faith, especially Christians.”

“I know of Christians working for the NSW Government who say they are scared to admit to their Christianity in the workplace,” he said.

“[They] feel there is an official policy of inclusion for every letter of the alphabet except C and H… Christians and heterosexuals.

“Religious discrimination is real, it is unacceptable and it needs to be outlawed.”

Big problems in Mark Latham’s religious discrimination bill

Latham’s Bill purports to prohibit discrimination based on religious beliefs and activities.

However Equality Australia says the Bill goes too far and has fundamental problems.

The group warns the Bill would privilege religious expression above other human rights. It would give special protections to religious activities that may otherwise breach laws and harm others.

The legislation also prioritises freedom of religion above all other rights and freedoms in NSW’s anti-discrimination laws, the group says.

Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown said “alarming” provisions within it could impact LGBT people, women, and divorced and unmarried people, in education, housing and healthcare.

“This Bill is a threat to hard-won gains for equality,” she said.

“It takes us backwards and threatens inclusion for LGBTIQ+ people, women, and even people of faith.”

She said the group is very concerned about the Bill’s creation of “double standards” in law.

“It’s important that people of faith are protected from discrimination. But that cannot extend to a right to discriminate against anyone else.”

She said Latham has repeatedly made denigrating comments about LGBTIQ+ people, Muslim people, migrants, women, and victims of domestic violence.

“The community should be suspicious of a Bill introduced by One Nation that purports to protect people equally,” she said.

A NSW parliamentary committee is examining Mark Latham’s Religious Discrimination Bill. The committee began hearings last week.

At that time, leaders from over 80 various community groups united to urge the NSW Parliament to reject the legislation.

Mark Latham slammed for transphobic education bill

Mark Latham won a seat in the NSW Upper House last March. He’s targeted the transgender community numerous times since then.

A few months ago he unveiled an education Bill that seeks to ban any recognition of transgender students in NSW schools.

In May, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said COVID-19 had delayed his government’s controversial federal Religious Discrimination Bill.

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