Media Release
Tuesday August 20th 2019


Advocates have called on Labor and the Senate cross bench to oppose any weakening of state discrimination and hate speech laws by the Morrison Government.

The call comes following news reports that a proposed religious discrimination bill will override state discrimination laws to stop so-called "vexation" hate speech complaints, with one news report citing a complaint made several years ago against Hobart Catholic Archbishop, Julian Porteous, as an example.

Just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

"If news reports are correct, the Federal Government is planning to override state hate speech laws, including those in Tasmania, Queensland and the ACT where there are no religious exemptions for hate speech."

"Hate speech laws have fostered a more inclusive Australia for LGBTI people, people wth disability, religious and racial minorities, and other groups, and any attempt to weaken these laws can only result in a rise in hate."

"We call on Anthony Albanese and the Senate cross-bench to commit to not voting for any new federal law that weakens protections under existing state laws."

Mr Croome said the complaint against Archbishop Porteous by transgender advocate, Martine Delaney, has been grossly misrepresented by the churches and parts of the media.

"Ms Delaney's complaint was not against the church's stance on same-sex marriage, it was against small parts of a Catholic marriage booklet that suggested same-sex partners 'mess with kids' and which presented church doctrine as scientific fact."

"It would be an abuse of federalism for the Morrison Government to override state laws just because a single archbishop feels he should be exempt from a legal standard that applies to everyone else."

For news reports about the Government's plans, click here and here 

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.