Prime Minister Scott Morrison to introduce Religious Discrimination bill

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to formally introduce the latest version of the Religious Discrimination bill into parliament on Thursday.

The PM reportedly told his party room colleagues that the bill would not be rushed though parliament and would likely be sent to review by a senate inquiry before becoming law. The suggestion that the bill would go through all the usual processes has cast doubt on whether it would be passed before the next election is called.

Multiple coalition MPs reportedly raised concerns about the contents of the bill during the regular party room meeting held this morning.

“It is a religious discrimination bill, not a religious freedoms bill, and that is important in relation to it being a shield not a sword and to allow the freedoms of people to follow their faith,” he said.

The Prime Minister had described the bill as “sensible and reasonable”, however upon it’s release it has been hit by a wave of criticism from LGBTIQA+ rights groups who argue it will allow discrimination in the name of religious belief.

Concern has been raised about how the bill will affect people living in regional and remote areas where there are limited choice in medical services, and how it will affect students and teachers in religious based schools.

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash has written to the Australian Law Reform Commission asking them to look into how the legislation affects children in religious schools, but has asked them to conduct the review one year after the bill has been passed.

Several Coalition MPs have reportedly asked why the issue can not be looked at ow during the creation of the law, rather than further down the track.

The government is facing tight time lines to pass the bill with less than two weeks remaining in the current parliamentary calendar. It is believed that Labor may support the bill in the lower house, but give it greater scrutiny in the senate.

Without Labor’s support the bill may struggle to pass in the senate as several cross-bench members have already indicated they do not support the legislation. The government also faces the challenge of several of it’s own members declaring they will support any legislation unless the government gives support to a law banning the states from imposing vaccine mandates.

Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles said his party would be looking closely at the latest version of the legislation.

‘We’ll have a good look at this over the next little while, we’ve made it clear for a long time that we’re happy to work with the government about delivering a bill which prevents religious discrimination, but obviously it is a complicated piece of legislation, we want to make sure they aren’t any unintended consequences, so we’ll take our time to work through this.” Marles told the ABC’s Afternoon Briefing.

OIP Staff

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