Mark Latham wants new religious freedom laws in NSW

Mark Latham, One Nation’s leader in New South Wales, says he will push for laws to be introduced that will allow service providers to turn away clients seeking goods and services for same-sex weddings.

The former Labor leader was successfully elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly and is due to give his inaugural speech on Wednesday afternoon.

Appearing on the Sky News programĀ Outsiders on Sunday morning Latham said his inaugural speech would outline his concerns about religious freedom, citing the case of rugby player Israel Folau as something that he found concerning.

“We’ll set out a program about doing things with freedom and fairness starting with religious freedom in New South Wales and beyond. This terrible Israel Folau persecution, there’s been a cultural invasion of our country. We’ve lost a lot of the things that are best about Australia, free speech, merit selection, resilience, love of country. It’s almost like we’re supposed to be embarrassed that we love Australia.” Latham said.

“I think it’s imperative that we insure that people aren’t scared to say ‘I am a Christian’ in Australia.”

Latham said he received a lot of feedback from migrant communities who are concerned that they will be persecuted for their religious beliefs, saying the way Israel Folau and Margaret Court has been treated gave them cause for concern.

“This is a real problem, there’s got to be free speech for those of religious faith. There has got to be no discrimination agaisnt anyone.” Lathan said.

One Nation’s NSW leader said employers like Rugby Australia should not be allowed to punish people, like Israel Folau, for their Christian beliefs. Latham said Folau had articulated a valid religious viewpoint, quoting from the bible and it had nothing to do with his workplace.

“Folau hasn’t done this on the field, or at a press conference to do with Rugby Union… these are valid views and he shouldn’t be persecuted for them.”

Latham said there was “unfinished business from the same-sex marriage process, whereby it’s still a law in New South Wales that if a Christian baker or dressmaker objects to having to participate in a same-sex marriage ceremony they can be prosecuted under anti-discrimination laws, so we’ve got to make sure that the government can never make Christians and other religious people do things that they regard as being morally wrong.”

Latham said people needed to understand that taking offense is a choice.

“Offence is taken, it is not given. People make a choice and a lot of it is confected as a political tactic to close down speech that they don’t like.”

Latham dismissed concerns that statements that maligned members of the LGBTIQA+ communities could cause damage to vulnerable people.

“There’s an argument out there, especially in the gay communities, that someone like Israel Folau is causing enormous damage as a role model for a 15-year-old interested in Rugby Union. I don’t know how valid this could be.”

The MP said young people should look to people other than rugby players as their moral role models.

“I would say to any young person, to any family, you want your kids to learn about good things in society and use role models study Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill, Mother Theresa and Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.” Latham said.

Latham said laws would need to be carefully worded so they did not go to far and create blasphemy laws.

OIP Staff





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