Advocates and pastor call for consultation on Religious Discrimination Bill

LGBTIQ+ advocacy group Equality Australia have joined with a church pastor to call on the Morrison Government to include affected communities in consultations regarding the Government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill.

“Faith-based communities who proactively embrace LGBTQ people need to be heard in this consultation. Our inclusion of LGBTQ people is part of our faith, founded on love and acceptance, not despite it”, said Pastor Brad Chilcott of Activate Church.

“It is critical that the Government reaches beyond the loudest voices, and genuinely listens to those who will be impacted by this law in possibly unanticipated ways.”

“There are Christians whose employment could be at risk as they express their faith in an inclusive way. It is important that the diverse views of people of faith are considered as the Bill is designed” concluded Pastor Chilcott.

Equality Australia Director of Legal Advocacy, Lee Carnie, said “Every lesbian, gay, bi, trans or queer person should be safe to practice their faith if this law is passed. We need to get the balance right.

“Anti-discrimination laws should only ever be a shield for protection. The Government must meet with all those communities who will be affected by this Bill.”

“There is no question that our laws should ensure that all people are protected from discrimination. LGBTIQ+ communities have too often experienced the harmful effects of discrimination, so we stand with people of faith in their calls for greater protection under the law,” Carnie continued.

“During the election the Morrison Government committed to ‘consult with LGBTIQ+ organisations across the broad range of policy areas affecting LGBTIQ+ Australians’. We are calling on the Government to honour that commitment now.”

According to a report on the Government’s consultation process in the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday, Attorney-General Christian Porter is preparing to hold workshops with backbenchers in Canberra this week before consulting churches and others in the weeks ahead to finalise the first version of the bill.

Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells has already spoken out against the proposed religious discrimination bill saying it does not go far enough.

The NSW senator told parliament on Tuesday night that rather than a religious discrimination act, a broader religious freedom act was needed.

OIP Staff