Shelley Argent’s back – and she’s very, very annoyed

Shelley argent's back religious discrimination legislation
Image: Shelley Argent

Shelley Argent’s back, and following her retirement as National Spokesperson for PFLAG+ and subsequent battle with leukemia, she’s again leaping into the fray. Shelley Argent’s back and she’s pissed about the proposed religious discrimination legislation. QNews spoke with Shelley this morning.

Earlier this year, Shelley received a diagnosis no one ever wants to hear. Following bouts of ongoing ill health, doctors diagnosed leukemia and gave her only months to live. However, after prolonged hospital stays, chemotherapy and other treatments, her leukemia went into remission.

“I don’t know how long I have. Remission is, of course,  an unpredictable beast. But, I’m back and I’m going to make the most of the extra time I have. My son and other LGBTIQ+ people deserve equal rights to other members of the community. He deserves the same rights as his straight brother.

“I am unbelievably annoyed.

“After the earlier battle for marriage equality, LGBTIQ+ people now face an added barrier to their enjoyment of basic human rights. This religious discrimination legislation is unnecessary and also wrong in every way.”

Pure and simple, bullshit

“This religious discrimination legislation is pure and simple, bullshit. It’s a consolation prize for poor losers. Something to make up for a loss of entitlement and undeserved privilege.

“As a parent of a gay male and advocate for LGBTIQ + people’s rights for the last 23 years, I want to know when my son and his community will be seen as equal without debate and judgement from a religious minority. The ongoing debates over equality and the proposed changes to legislation sow hate and division, causing anxiety and stress for LGBTIQ+ people.

“Unfortunately, some people perceive human rights as conditional.”

Shelley says equality should not require bargaining and no one should need to continually fight for it.

“For some, the emotional price is too high.”

The veteran advocate said that marriage equality only came about following years of pleading. She recalled enduring ignorant and insulting conversations with elected representatives. But despite all of the dire consequences forecast by opponents to result from marriage equality, it quickly became an accepted part of the social fabric.

Sting in the tail

“But marriage equality came with a sting in its tail.”

Shelley described the Religious Discrimination Bill as the sting in the tail of marriage equality. Religious groups claim to fear discrimination and the loss of religious freedom.

“However, although religious groups and right-wing politicians play down the impact of the Bill, in reality, they demand privileges in the form of:

  • Weakened anti-discrimination laws to protect against the consequences of comments and/or actions.
  • Protection from legal repercussions for derogatory and discriminatory assertions made as ‘statements of belief’.
  • The right to dismiss employees based on a criterion unrelated to job performance.

“Consequently, dedicated LGBTIQ+ workers will need to return to the closet to keep jobs they love and are good at. Mental health issues will increase.

“As a mother, I ask, when will my son and other LGBTIQ+ people be treated with respect?”

Shelley said she wanted Labor to stand up and demand a Senate Inquiry.

“Not just bow to the Coalition and its shabby legislation!”

Finally, she said, “When will the Coalition begin working for all Australians, not a select group of Christians?”

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at

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1 Comment

  1. Yolande Stiffel
    14 January 2022

    Here, Here, Shelley!
    I stand with you!
    Like you I am an advocate for the human rights of all LGBTQIA;
    I am the proud mother of a gay son;
    I am a Christian.
    This Religious “Privilege” Bill is not Christian, it is EVIL!
    Those who support it may be religious but they are definitely NOT

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