Polling shows Western Australians don’t support Religious Discrimination Bill

West Australians have shown themselves to be the strongest opponents of the federal government’s Religious Discrimination Bill.

A survey by YouGov Galaxy has found a clear majority of voters do not support key sections of the contentious bill. The survey was conducted for lobby group Just Equal Australia.

On a state-wide basis WA voters were most strongly opposed, with 74% saying they disagreed with religious schools discriminating against LGBT students.

Some 71% opposed discrimination against LGBT teachers, and 76% opposed discrimination against LGBT employees in faith-based services such as health, education and age care.

Spokesperson for Just Equal Australia, Brian Greig, said key aspects of the Religious Discrimination Bill which remove protections against denigration and discrimination for LGBT people do not have public support.

“Nationwide, opposition to key aspects of the bill was found among both Coalition and Labor voters and across all age groups,” he said.

Australians responded by being strongly opposed to allowing harmful “statements of belief” in the name religion.

Opposition to this section of the bill was strong among both Coalition voters at 76%, and 81% for Labor voters.

A majority of those people who identified as Christian in the survey also opposed the “statements of belief” section in the bill, with 75% against.

Nationwide, the survey found voters opposed discrimination against LGBT staff in religious schools, including at the point of enrolment, as well as not supporting discrimination against LGBT staff working in faith-based service provision.

“The Federal Government must reassess its ideological push for this divisive bill, and the Federal Opposition must recognise the strong objections to this bill from Labor voters,” Greig said.

Greig said the message from the poll is clear.

“Australians do not support special privileges for religious people to be exempt from anti-discrimination laws.

“Nor do they support a bill that allows people to discriminate against others in the name of faith,” he said.

The Just.Equal spokesperson said the bill must not be rushed through parliament in the “chaotic environment” of the last few sitting days before the election.

“This bill must be withdrawn and rewritten to remove its unwanted and harmful content.”

Parliament has sat late into the night debating the legislation with a series of amendments put up by both the government and the opposition. Labor have agreed to pass the bill but are calling for significant amendments are accepted.

OIP Staff

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