PFLAG’s religious discrimination campaign gets huge response

PFLAG’s new campaign against the government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill is reportedly off to a great start with hundreds of submissions received within just a few days.

Leading politicians have received a deluge of hundreds of emails protesting against the Religious Discrimination Bill through a new website unveiled on 2nd January by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

THe organisation say many of the emails include personal stories illustrating the depth of anxiety, frustration and anger about the Bill.

PFLAG+ spokesperson, Shelley Argent (pictured), said the new website that allowed people to share their concerns had gotten a lot of submissions.

“Our new website has clearly struck a chord.” Argent said. “Both the high number of emails, and the personalised messages included in many of those emails, show there is deep opposition to this Bill and people want it scrapped.”

“PFLAG+ will step up its efforts to ensure as many Australians as possible have the chance to email politicians expressing their opposition to the Bill.”

“We want politicians to know they ignore public opposition to this Bill at their peril.”

Within 24 hours of the new website being unveiled on January 2nd, politicians had received 500 emails calling for the Bill to be scrapped, with the number now well over 1000.

The new site has information about how the Bill will impact everyday Australians and allows those concerned about the Bill to write to the nation’s leaders calling for the Bill to be scrapped.

The emails received so far have expressed a wide range of concerns about the proposed legislation including people’s worry that it will lead to increased hate speech in society and lead to increased harm.

Many submissions highlight that people question if there is a need for such legislation in a secular society like Australia and question the motivations for it being introduced.

People writing in to the site have expressed their concern that the government’s postal survey on marriage equality showed that Australians were in support of removing discrimination, and the proposed bill is seen as increasing the ways in which discrimination can occur.

The Morrison government has been criticised over it’s consultation approach over the bill with advocates highlighting that the government has spent time sitting down with religious bodies who want these laws to be introduced, but not as much consultation has been done with those groups who could be affected by the legislation.

The feedback process for the first iteration of the bill saw thousands of submissions being sent into the government but so far only a handful of these have been made public.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison had vowed to introduce legislation before the end of 2019, but at the last minute he withdrew the proposed bill and put forward a more extreme version. The first version of the legislation has been criticised by members of the PM’s own party for not going far enough.

Visit PFLAG’s campaign site.

OIP Staff

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