Wednesday December 22nd 2021
Plibersek must clarify ALP position on Religious Discrimination Bill
Member for Sydney, Tanya Plibersek MHR, has been called on to clarify Labor’s position on the Religious Discrimination Bill.
National lobby group, Just Equal Australia, has written to her asking where Labor stands.
Spokesperson for JEA, Brian Greig, said Ms Plibersek’s comments about the Bill were ambiguous.
“Ms Plibersek has said Labor will not be giving support to any proposals that see increased discrimination being allowed against members of the community.
“Specifically she has said:
‘No one should be discriminated against on the basis of their religion ...but we don’t want to see greater protections for some, come at the expense of fewer protections for others.’
“On this basis, we have written to Ms Plibersek pointing out that the Bill does propose fewer protections for a number of groups in society, and asking why Labor has failed to acknowledge this?
“We also point out that the Bill clearly overrides state and federal anti-discrimination laws to allow discrimination against LGBTQ+ teachers and other workers, and ask why Labor has failed to denounce this?”
Greig said the Bill also gives special legal privilege for religious people to say harmful things about women, people with disability, LGBTIQ+ people, those from minority faiths, and people with no religious faith
“We don’t need a committee inquiry to confirm this. Why has Labor failed to publicly oppose this?"
In 2018 as Deputy Opposition Leader, Ms Plibersek told The Guardian Newspaper:
“I see a ‘real problem’ with how the government’s proposed religious discrimination law overrides state legislation”.
“The inclusion of a specific clause that overrides Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act would be difficult for the opposition to support.”
Mr Greig said the Bill specifically overrides Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act to allow humiliating, insulting, ridiculing and offensive conduct.
“It also overrides existing anti-discrimination protections in Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT to allow discrimination against LGBTIQ+ employees in faith-based schools and services."
“Does this mean Labor will vote against the Bill? Why is it silent on this?”
Mr Greig said Labor’s failure to denounce discrimination and take a firm stance against the Bill should concern LGBTIQ+ voters.
“No matter who wins next year’s election, the push for a Religious Discrimination Act is not going away."
“For this reason we must know where Labor stands on the substantive issues,” Greig said.
A copy of the letter to Ms Plibersek is attached.
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here.
For more information contact Brian Greig on 0407 776 961.