Poll shows voters opposed to key parts of the Religious Discrimination bill

A YouGov poll has shown that Australian voters are overwhelmingly opposed to key elements of the Morrison government’s proposed Religious Discrimination bill.

The YouGov Galaxy Poll of 1,030 voters was commissioned by rights group Just.Equal and it shows that the majority of voters are not onboard with many of the key elements of bill which is currently in it’s third draft.

The poll shows that 77% of the people surveyed oppose the section of the bill that allows people an exemption from existing discrimination laws if they claim their statement was one of religious belief. Under the proposed legislation the statements would be permitted as long as they did not amount to harassment or vilification or encourage ridicule to insults.

The poll also found that 64% of those surveyed did not support religious-based schools being allowed to expel students who were gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, or take action against the students if their parents were in a same-sex relationship. There was a similar level of support for teachers with 62% of people being opposed to faith-based schools removing teachers who they discover a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

Opposition to harmful speech in the name of religion was higher among Labor voters. The survbeyed showed that 81 per cent of Labor voters did not support provisions for religious based speech, and 75% per cent opposed enrolment discrimination.

Two separate parliamentary inquires will deliver their reports on the legislation tomorrow. The reports come after a series of rushed hearings on the legislation that were held in December and January.

Debate on the bill is expected to recommence when parliament returns next week. With only eleven sitting days scheduled for February, and an early budget expected in March, the government will be eager to push forward the legislation before Prime Minister Scott Morrison calls the date for the election.

Labor has maintained that they will not support the legislation if there are elements that allow for discrimination against LGBTIQA+ students, while the Greens oppose the bill in its entirety.

The coalition may also face opposition to the bill form within its own ranks. In December it was reported that moderate Liberals had granted their support after Prime Minister Scott Morrison agreed to adjust elements of the Sex Discrimination Act, closing the loop hole that allows students be expelled over their sexuality. Attorney General Michaelia Cash has subsequently suggested that deal has been rescinded.

OIP Staff

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