Media Release
Wednesday November 17th 2021
Just.Equal Australia has urged Labor, cross-benchers and dissenting Liberals to vote down the Federal Government's proposed Religious Discrimination Bill.
While the re-worked Bill has been stripped of two of its four extreme measures, the other two remain.
Media reports today indicate that the Bill will override state anti-discrimination acts, particularly Tasmania's, to allow religious statements of belief that will humiliate, intimidate and insult people with disability, ethnic minorities and LGBTIQ+ people.
Spokesperson for Just Equal, Mr Brian Greig said the Bill also contained wide exemptions allowing faith-based schools, hospitals and aged care facilities to favour employees who “share their faith”.
"We are very concerned these broad exemptions could be used to discriminate against LGBTQ+ employees under cover of an organisation's so-called 'religious ethos'.
"With more states moving to prevent LGBTQ+ discrimination by faith-based organisations, the exemptions in the Religious Discrimination Bill are potentially taking the nation backwards."
Mr Greig said that following lobbying from Just.Equal, which included a brochure mailed to all MPs and a meeting with Attorney General Michaela Cash, the government backed-off two of the extreme measures but needed to go further.
“The proposal to deny health services to LGBTI people has been dropped, as has the so-called Folau Cause which would have prevented employers taking action against demeaning conduct.
“But the Bill remains an unprecedented attack on discrimination protections that have helped foster greater tolerance and inclusion.
"It is unprecedented for any Federal Government to attack existing state discrimination protections for vulnerable minorities, including people with disability."
"This Bill is a license to demean and discriminate, and puts the health and wellbeing of vulnerable Australians at risk."
"We call on Labor, the cross bench, and Liberals who oppose this kind of extremism, to vote the Bill down, or at the very least, ensure it is subject to the full scrutiny of a parliamentary inquiry.
"Scott Morrison promised a Bill that would prevent discrimination on the ground of religion, not promote it in the name of religion. This fight isn't over until he fulfils that promise."
It is expected the Religious Discrimination Bill will be introduced as early as next week.
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Brian Greig (WA) 0407 776 961.