PM Scott Morrison introduces Religious Discrimination Bill

Religious Discrimination

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has formally introduced the Religious Discrimination Bill into parliament.

Delivering a twenty minute long speech the PM said the new Religious Discrimination act would stand alongside the the laws against sexual, racial, disability and aged discrimination.

“In this age of identity politics where we hear much about how we are identified by our gender, our age, our sexuality, our race, our ethnicity or our level of physical or intellectual ability, these are known as protected attributes and they should be. We are rightly protected against discrimination in relation to any of these attributes.” Morrison said.

“Human beings are more than our physical selves, as human beings we are also soul and spirit, we are also importantly what we believe. For many this can inform who they are more than anything else.”

“The protection of what we believe in a free society is essential to our freedom. In a liberal democracy it is like oxygen.” The PM said describing why he believed an additional discrimination law was required.

“It’s a sensible and balanced bill.” The Prime Minister said, commending the work of Attorney-General Michaelia Cash.

Religious discrimination laws needed to support multiculturalism

“It balances, as Australia always must, freedom with responsibility, this bill also build on Australia’s proud record as the most successful multicultural multi-faith nation on the planet.”

The Prime Minister said for many Australian their culture and faith were intertwined and in inseparable.

“They are one and the same and to deny protection from discrimination for their religious beliefs is to tear and the very fabric of multiculturalism in this country.” the PM said.

Religious Discrimination

“People should not be cancelled, or persecuted or vilified because their beliefs are different from someone else’s, in a free liberal democratic society such as Australia.”

The Prime Minister said free societies were largely built upon the foundations of faith, and faith based communities provided many essential services and contributed to the creation of a ‘good society”.

“The protection of discrimination of faith and religion in the public sphere is therefore central to the strength of our civil society and the health of communities, families, and indeed our very selves.”

Morrison said the bill was the result of four years of work that began with the Ruddock Review and had involved a wide consultation process.

“This bill is balanced and thoughtful, it does not take from the rights and freedoms of others. We do not set to seek one group of Australians against another.”

The Prime Minister said the bill would allow people of faith much needed protections throughout their lives in work, education, buying goods and services and accessing accommodation.

No discrimination against against students over sexuality or gender identity

The Prime Minister said the bill did not allow for discrimination against students or teachers over their sexuality, but it would override some state based laws.

“The bill recognises that religious bodies, religious schools must be free to uphold the tenets of their faith, and the ethos that makes their school a community.” the PM said.

“The bill protects the fundamental right for religious schools to hire religious staff to maintain their religious ethos in accordance with a publicly available policy. This protection will be able to override state or territory laws which seek to interfere with that right.”

Prime Minister Morrison said the bill would not lead to gay students being expelled from schools.

“Nothing in this bill allows for any form of discrimination against a student on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity. You won’t find it, anything of that nature in this bill.” PM Morrison said. “Such discrimination has no place in our education system.”

Morrison says concerted effort needed to fight cancel culture in Australian life  

In his speech the Prime Minister highlighted the growing concern of “cancel culture” and anonymous social media accounts as a reason for the new legislation to be needed.

“Still many people from various religious traditions are concerned about the lack of religious protection against the prevalence of cancel culture in Australia life. It’s true, it’s there, it’s real.

“The citizens of Liberal Democracies should never be fearful about what they believe, the lives they lead, or the god they follow, if indeed they choose to follow one or acknowledge one at all. Australians shouldn’t have to worry about looking over their shoulder, fearful of offending an anonymous person on Twitter, cowardly sitting there abusing and harassing them for their faith, or transgressing against political or social zeitgeists.

“We have to veer away from the artificial phony conflicts, boycotts. controversies and cancelling created by anonymous  and cowardly bots, bigots and bullies.” The Prime Minister said.

Debate on the bill is expected to commence later today.

Graeme Watson

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