New poll shows low voter support for stronger religious protections

A new Essential poll has shown low support among Coalition voters for a stronger Religious Discrimination Bill as conservative government MPs push for wide-ranging religious freedom laws.

The poll published by The Guardian shows 44% of Coalition supporters are in favour of a stronger ‘religious freedom’ bill as opposed to Attorney General Christian Porter’s Religious Discrimination Bill, with just 38% of all voters behind the proposal. 16% of those support the notion strongly, while 22% ‘somewhat’ support the idea.

A majority (74%) of Coalition voters also said that they felt their speech was limited by others negative reactions, compared to 61% of Labor voters, and 47% of Greens voters.

68% of those polled also said they have been following the headline conversation surrounding Israel Folau’s sacking by Rugby Australia, after he posted to Instagram that “gays” are destined for hell.

68% of those polled also agreed with the statement “Israel Folau chose to share his religious views on social media and should take responsibility for them,” while another 51% agreed with the sentence “Israel Folau has used his public profile to attack a minority group in the community.

The statement “Israel Folau has the right to voice his religious views, regardless of the hurt it could cause others,” was agreed with by 34% of voters. 36% disagreed with that statement.

Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells told parliament on last week that rather than a religious discrimination act, a broader religious freedom act was needed. Other unnamed government MPs have been reported in the media sharing similar sentiments.

Calling for greater action, Senator Fierravanti-Wells said not only did laws need to stop discrimination occurring because of religious beliefs, they needed to clearly guarantee everyone a right of freedom of speech, thought and conscience.

The NSW senator said the large amount of financial donations given to rugby player Israel Folau was evidence that there was overwhelming support for him across the Australian community, and his situation had inspired her to make the call for more wide reaching laws.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells said the people Prime Minister Scott Morrison referred to as the “quiet Australians” were the “silent majority”. Over 7,800,000 Australians voted ‘Yes’ in the Australian Marriage Law Postal survey in 2017.

OIP Staff