ACL says Religious Discrimination bill needed because of marriage equality

ACL Wendy Francis

The Australian Christian Lobby has indicated that it will be campaigning for many of the provisions dropped from the latest version of the Religious Freedom Bill to be added back in before it is passed by the senate.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison released the third version of the bill to the public yesterday and it is expected to be formally introduced into parliament in the coming days. Wendy Francis from the Australian Christian Lobby said the need for a bill to protect religious beliefs extended from the loss of the marriage debate.

“It really began when Australia legalised marriage as different to what God ordains marriage to be – and that is one man and one woman for life.” The ACL’s National Political Director said in a new video series that was launched on Tuesday.

“When we changed the rules and changed the laws around marriage that’s when religious people in our nation started to really need some sort of protection.”

“Going into the last election our Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised that there would be a religious discrimination legislation that would come in this term of government.”

Francis said the bill in it’s current form was “underwhelming” and people would be looking for it to be strengthened before being made into law.

On their website the ACL listed an overreach of employers into the employee’s private speech, the misuse of hate speech laws against religious expression, threats to churches and families from LGBT conversion laws banning prayer and counselling, and increasing attacks on the ability of Christian schools to operate according to their ethos, as areas they’d like the bill to address.

Francis said the so-called Folau clause needed to be reinstated.

“Employer’s don’t own employees. They’re not slaves, in their private lives they should be able to give freedom of speech there.”

Francis said while it was good the bill was finally before parliament the government had a long way to go before it was “showing true support for people of faith.”

On Tuesday the Prime Minister reportedly said the bill would not be rushed through parliament and would likely be sent to a senate inquiry before being debated in the upper house. With only a few days remaining in the parliamentary calendar for 2021, and an election due next year, many have questioned if there is any likelihood of the bill passing.

OIP Staff

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