Equality Australia welcome delay on Religious Discrimination Bill

LGBTIQ+ advocacy group Equality Australia have welcomed a delay in the introduction of the Morrison government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill, saying it will allow for more community consultation.

The bill, which could see amendments to marriage, anti-discrimination and charity laws, has been lauded as a high priority for the government by both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.

Director of Legal Advocacy Lee Carnie said that after initially committing to introduce the bill this week, the delay provides more time to get the balance right.

“As a nation we have been on a journey towards greater diversity and inclusion for years now, with Australians showing time and time again that we stand together against division and hate,” Carnie said.

“There is no question that our laws should ensure that all people are protected from discrimination. As a community who has too often experienced the harmful effects of discrimination, we stand with people of faith in their calls for greater protection under the law.”

Carnie welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to consult on the proposed legislation, however expressed strong concern that no commitment has been given to engage directly with either the LGBTIQ community or women’s groups.

“We know that LGBTIQ+ people and women are those most at risk of experiencing discrimination by religious groups based on religious beliefs, and we hold grave concerns that if this legislation is not crafted carefully it will hand a license to discriminate to religious organisations. We cannot support any legislation that hands a sword to one group to attack or harm another, and we need the Prime Minister to hear and understand our concerns.”

Carnie also urged the Prime Minister to commit to meeting with LGBTIQ and women’s groups and said that Equality Australia would be doing everything possible to ensure the voices of LGBTIQ+ people were heard.

“In response to our pre-election survey the Morrison Government committed to ‘consult with LGBTIQ+ organisations across the broad range of policy areas affecting LGBTIQ+ Australians’. We are calling on the Government to honour that commitment now.”

OIP Staff

Image:- Human Rights Law Centre


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