Advocates welcome Labor’s consultation over Religious Discrimination Bill

Just.equal has welcomed Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s decision to consult LGBTIQ community representatives on the Religious Discrimination Bill, saying its message to Mr Albanese will be for Labor to oppose the Bill and educate the public about the danger the Bill poses.

Just.equal has been calling for such a consultation since the Bill was first mooted and now some LGBTIQ leaders have been invited to a meeting in Melbourne on January 30th.

Just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said his organisation welcomed the move by Labor to consult widely on the bill.

“We welcome Mr Albanese’s decision to consult.”

“Our message to him will be that Labor must oppose the Bill outright and as soon as possible.”

“This is so Labor can begin the task of educating the public about why the Bill is a threat to social minorities, a threat to fundamental Australian values like equality before the law, and a threat to Labor’s legacy of strong state and federal anti-discrimination laws.”

Croome has also encouraged the Labor party to make sure their consultation process includes other groups that will be affected by the proposed legislation including transgender and gender diverse people, rainbow families, rural and regional communities, and LGBTIQ people of faith, people with disability and many other groups in society.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has vowed to introduce his religious anti-discrimination bill into parliament before the end of 2019, but pulled the bill at the eleventh hour after members of his own party, and religious groups argued that the legislation did not go far enough.

Attorney General Christian Porter has now shared an updated version of the proposed legislation that has more protections for people of faith, however rights advocates have voiced alarm that the protections available under religious freedom may impact on existing discrimination protections.

When Labor leader Anthony Albanese sat down with OUTinPerth last year he said his party would not accept any legislation that waters down existing LGBTIQ+ rights.

“We won’t accept any discrimination on the basis of – for example – people’s sexuality or gender identity. We won’t support a view that says it’s okay to discriminate against people.

“We don’t think it’s okay to discriminate against people on the basis of faith either, but it’s not okay to discriminate of the basis of sexuality or anything else.” Albanese told OUTinPerth back in July 2019.

OIP Staff

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