The Morrison Government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill presents the greatest threat to LGBT rights in Australia in a generation. These are my main posts on this subject:
Written after the May 2019 federal election, including discussion of the strategy we should adopt in anticipation of the challenge of the Religious Discrimination Bill.
Written in August, before the First Exposure Draft Bill was released, including analysis of some of the worst features this legislation could contain (many of which were unfortunately realised).
Written after the First Exposure Draft Bills were released, focusing on four major problems:
- Exempting statements of belief from Commonwealth, state and territory anti-discrimination laws
- Making it more difficult for big business to promote diversity and inclusion
- Making it easier for health practitioners to refuse to serve minorities, and
- Making it easier for religious bodies to discriminate against others.
Given the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill explicitly overrides state and territory anti-discrimination laws, those governments have a moral responsibility to speak up on behalf of vulnerable communities in their respective jurisdictions. As of February 2020, only the ACT Government has chosen to explicitly challenge the proposed Bill.
The Religious Discrimination Bill undermines the rights of women, LGBTI people, people with disability, single parents, divorced people and people in de facto relationships. Significantly, it also permits increased discrimination against people from minority faiths.
Written after the release of the Second Exposure Draft Bill, the fact the Morrison Government did not address the major flaws contained in the First Draft (and arguably exacerbated some of those problems, including in relation to statements of belief and religious exceptions), the only responsible course of action is for Labor, the Greens, Centre Alliance and Senator Jacqui Lambie to vote against this legislation.
If the Religious Discrimination Bill is passed, LGBTI tourists to Australia will need to be issued with warnings about potential discrimination in health care, accommodation, transport, food and entertainment, and other goods and services. Basically, anywhere and everywhere they go.
Why COVID-19 provides five major reasons why the Government must abandon the Religious Discrimination Bill, including that it is a distraction from what are – far – more important challenges to deal with, both health and economic.
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