Religious Discrimination Bill set to make a comeback next week


scott morrison religious discrimination bill michaelia cash religious freedom
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The Morrison Government’s controversial Religious Discrimination Bill is expected to make a comeback next week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison originally wanted the long-delayed legislation introduced to parliament by the end of 2019.

By that December, then-Attorney-General Christian Porter was unveiling a second reworked draft of the bill.

At the time, LGBTIQ advocates slammed both drafts as unfair and discriminatory. Neither draft would end up making it to parliament.

This year, Attorney-General Michaelia Cash has worked on a third draft. The Morrison government has not yet released it publicly.

Next week is the final parliamentary sitting week of the year. The government expected to introduce the draft bill to parliament before the end of next week.

A spokesperson for Senator Cash said the government has consulted with over 90 stakeholders in a series of roundtables on the legislation.

“The bill will ensure individuals can’t discriminate against religious belief or activity,” they said.

“This fundamental proposition is well accepted by stakeholders.”

Equality Australia says latest draft ‘takes us backwards’

Equality Australia says the current draft of the legislation is “deeply flawed” and contains unprecedented and harmful legal provisions.

“The previous draft Religious Discrimination Bill contained provisions that would undermine access to healthcare without judgement,” CEO Anna Brown said.

“[It protects] people who say harmful and discriminatory things both inside and outside the workplace, in schools and in-service settings.

“A law containing these provisions would take us backwards, entrenching new forms of discrimination and privileging some religious beliefs over the rights and beliefs of others.”

Because of this, Brown said, “a broad chorus of voices spoke out against the bill”. Among them were businesses, unions, women, people with a disability, LGBTIQ people and even people of faith.

“Our laws should protect all of us, equally. We urge the government to abandon its flawed Bill,” she said.

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash caused backlash last month after suggesting the new draft could bypass such an inquiry.

Anna Brown said, “The whole Australian Parliament must [send the] Bill to a public inquiry so parliamentarians can hear from people who will be directly impacted by these laws.”

Liberal MPs split on Religious Discrimination Bill

Last month, the Australian Christian Lobby claimed the draft Bill includes a so-called “Israel Folau clause” to give legal protection to people for their statements of belief.

Queensland Liberal Warren Entsch is one MP to publicly warn he’ll vote against the Bill if it undermines LGBTIQ rights.

NSW Liberal MP Dave Sharma said the laws should be “a shield” for people of faith “and not a sword” allowing them to discriminate.

“It cannot be used to undermine existing rights, particularly among the LGBTIQ community,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

However, Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells told the Herald the current drafts “fall far short of properly protecting religious freedom.”

Meanwhile, shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said federal Labor believes all Australians should live free from discrimination.

“As we have repeatedly made clear to the Attorney-General and her predecessor Christian Porter, we are ready to work with the government on a Religious Discrimination Bill,” he told AAP.

“We are still to be shown any legislation. [Labor] will wait for the government to introduce an actual bill into the parliament before determining our position.”

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4 Comments

  1. Paul Mitchell
    17 November 2021
    Reply

    In breaking news, Scott Morrison needs protection from the next federal election!

  2. Alana
    17 November 2021
    Reply

    Let’s vote Scott Morrison out next election and not let laber or LNP’s get in & put greens Frist to save our country of all the new crap (eg pensioner dabit cards, other things) that might come in

  3. julain Gallimore
    19 November 2021
    Reply

    Scott Morrison government awash with HATE PREJUDICE AND BIGOTRY AGAINST LGBTQ PEOPLE AND THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS.
    It’s like a Harry potter series TONY ABBOTT, Peter Dutton has Voldemort and cash reminds me of a female version of the German dictator 1933 to 1945 , Australian Christian History has a Dark Side just ask anybody from the stolen generation.

  4. julain Gallimore
    19 November 2021
    Reply

    Just sent $50 dollars to AUSTRALIA ️‍ equality campaign to fight against the Eric abetz ACL Hate Prejudice and Bigotry campaign promotion Religious Discrimination, How unchristian can some Christians be. It’s time to close the second Australian Embassy in Rome Italy and spend the money saved on the 1 in 5 Oz’s children living in Poverty.

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