Warren Entsch warns colleagues to “be careful” with religious discrimination bill

Liberal MP Warren Entsch has warned his colleagues to be careful how they proceed with the third draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill, warning he’ll have no hesitation in crossing the floor of parliament and voting with the opposition if the bill compromises marriage equality or other LGBTIQ+ rights.

Attorney General Michaelia Cash is currently created a third draft of the bill, and it is understood it will be a major re-write from the previous draft developed by Christian Porter.

“I will be looking very closely at this bill and I have a very strong view,” Entsch told the The Australian last month, “I would warn against ­compromising the gains made by achieving marriage equality. This issue is being predominantly pushed by institutions of Christian faith. There are a hell of a whole lot of faiths in this place.”

Speaking on Melbourne radio station JOYFM yesterday Entsch reiterated his stance.

“I don’t see it as a religious discrimination bill. I see it as a Christian bill of rights. I didn’t waste 19 years of my political life removing discrimination from elements of our community just to sit back and let them discriminate again. I will not do it, and I will cross the floor.”

Victorian MP Tim Wilson has also voiced his concerns about the legislation saying it should not become a ‘bill of rights’ for religion.

“I suspect developing a ­religious discrimination bill (that is) consistent with other anti-­discrimination laws and treats all Australians equally should be a relatively straight forward exercise and would bring together people in good faith,” he said. ­

“Reinterpreting our promise to advance a religious bill of rights is less likely to do so.” Wilson said.

Western Australian senator Dean Smith has indicated that while he supports anti-discrimination protections for people of faith, any new laws should not roll back existing rights or protections for other groups in society.

Equality group just.equal say now is the time for Labor and moderate Liberals to voice their concern.

“Now that Warren Entsch has vowed to vote against the Bill it’s time for Labor and other moderate Liberals to do the same.” just.equal spokesperson Brian Greig said.

“If they follow Mr Entsch, the Bill will have no chance of passing in either house of parliament and will effectively be dead on arrival.”

“It’s in the hands of Labor and moderate Liberals to defend Australia’s discrimination laws from the unprecedented attack being planned under cover of ‘religious freedom’.”

“We call on Labor and other moderate Liberals to save the nation from more of corrosive debate about allowing discrimination in the name of religion against women, LGBTIQA+ people, people with disability, and people of minority faiths,” Greig said.

OIP Staff

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