Media Release
Friday June 18th


National lobby group, Just.Equal Australia, has welcomed public concerns about the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill from moderate Liberal Government Party MPs saying it increases pressure on Labor to come out against the Bill.

This week Attorney General, Michaelia Cash, announced she would bring a rewrite of the Bill to parliament by December, prompting Liberal moderates to warn that the 2017 marriage equality postal survey victory “must not be overshadowed.”

Spokesperson for Just.Equal Australia, Brian Greig, said the Liberal moderates had now expressed more concern with the Bill than the Labor opposition.

“The ‘warning shot’ these MP’s have rightly fired over the bow of this legislation is very welcome, as is their recognition that the current Bill weakens existing LGBTIQA+ anti-discrimination protections."

“But it's concerning that these Liberal MP’s are now the leading critics of the Bill and not the Labor Party.

“As a party, Labor has not stated its opposition to this Bill, nor publicly acknowledged the harm it will do to LGBTIQA+ people and other communities by rolling back existing discrimination protections,” Greig said.  

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Coalition MP’s Warren Entsch, Tim Wilson and Dean Smith warned Attorney General, Michaelia Cash, not to compromise on LGBTIQA+ rights or create a faith-based “Bill of Rights.”

WA Liberal Senator Dean Smith, who helped shape the final marriage equality law in 2017, said the Bill must not roll back any existing anti-discrimination measures.

“A baseline for many Australians will be a commitment to not rolling back Australia’s very effective anti-discrimination laws, which are already in place,” he told The Australian.

Mr Greig said Senator Smith had identified the main flaw in the Bill; that it overrides federal, state and territory anti-discrimination laws.

“The Prime Minister had promised that his bill would be a shield and not a sword, but has broken his promise. This Bill is a sword aimed at the heart of vulnerable minorities who fall foul of traditional religious doctrines."

“It was supposed to protect people of faith from discrimination, but instead it allows discrimination in the name of faith.”

Mr Greig said Just.Equal Australia has written to Senator Cash urging her to consult with the LGBTIQA+ community and other groups that will be disadvantaged by her proposed Religious Discrimination Bill.

In the letter to Senator Cash, Just.Equal Australia listed all the groups that will have their discrimination protections rolled back including people with disability, women, people in minority faiths as well as LGBTIQA+ people.
“We are seeking an urgent meeting with Michaelia Cash to put our case against the Bill, given it seems the Government is only hearing one side of the story at the moment.”

“But we’re also realistic that the Bill is likely to go ahead and we are preparing to campaign against it.”

“There are four keys to defeating this legislation if it is introduced. They are
  • Highlighting the groups like people with disability and women seeking health care who will be disadvantaged
  • Highlighting the importance of the discrimination laws that will be weakened
  • Showing how the Bill gives special rights to conservative religious figures not available to others
  • Convincing Labor to vote as a bloc against the Bill
“Our campaigning will focus on all four.”

Contact Brian Greig (WA)
M: 040 777 6961