"Anti-discrimination laws have made Australia an immensely more inclusive and equitable society, and we will strongly oppose any attempt to weaken those laws under the cover of 'religious freedom'." - Rodney Croome
Advocates have called on Labor, the Greens and the Senate cross-bench to oppose any new law that weakens existing protections from discrimination.
The call comes after the Government announced its intention to amend existing marriage, charities and discrimination laws to allow "religious freedom" (see attached screen shot of the Government's legislative agenda released today).
Just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,
"Our fear is that the Government's proposed amendments will allow discrimination that is currently prohibited against LGBTI people and anyone else who falls foul of traditional religious precepts."
"We call on Labor, the Greens and the Senate cross-bench to block any new provision that weakens existing discrimination protections."
"In particular, we want a commitment from Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, that Labor will not support any new law that diminishes existing discrimination protections."
"Anti-discrimination laws have made Australia an immensely more inclusive and equitable society, and we will strongly oppose any attempt to weaken those laws under the cover of 'religious freedom'."
"Now is the time for Australia to have a national discussion about equal rights and freedoms for everyone, not special rights and freedoms for some."
The Government has also proposed the appointment of a religious freedom commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Mr Croome said,
"Many Australians will ask why this Government wants to appoint a commissioner to protect rights that its own religious freedom review said are not threatened, while potentially eroding the rights of vulnerable minorities like LGBTI people."
"This is out of whack with the belief of everyday Australians in equal rights for all."
Mr Croome went on to say that he supports the Government's additional plan to prohibit discrimination on the ground of religion.
"Most Australians would agree that there should be no discrimination against people because of their religious beliefs."
"The problem arises when legislation allows discrimination and hate speech in the name of religion."
"Until Australian law prohibits discrimination against everyone equally, the the national promise of a fair go for all will not be fulfilled."
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.