Politicians shown how religious discrimination bill targets minorities

A national LGBTIQ+ lobby group has upped its campaign against the federal government’s proposed religious discrimination bill.

Just.Equal Australia has posted a 12-page brochure to every federal MP and senator, outlining the four main elements of the ‘Religious Freedom Bill’ that would harm LGBTIQ+ people and other marginalised groups.

Spokesperson Brian Greig called the bill the biggest attack on anti-discrimination laws in the nation’s history.

“I really don’t think most MPs understand the threat posed by the Religious Freedom Bill to Australia’s anti-discrimination laws, so our brochure clarifies this threat with facts, evidence, and simplicity that cuts through all the misinformation,” said Greig.

“The bill is not about freedom for faith, but privilege for prejudice. 

“It overrides all state and territory anti-discrimination laws, the Commonwealth’s Fair Work Act, and gives special privilege to derogatory speech in the workplace if done in the name of religion.”

Greig said the bill could open the door to faith-based schools discriminating against LGBTIQ+ students in those states where students are currently protected. 

“Some of the laws being overridden have been in place for decades and have helped foster a more inclusive Australia,” Greig said.  

“The bill also permits doctors, chemists, nurses, and psychologists to refuse services to women, people with disability, and LGBTIQ+ people.

“It also seeks to remove hate-speech protections from these same groups, mostly to the disadvantage of people with a disability.

“Prime Minister Morrison promised that this bill would be a shield and not a sword but has broken that promise. This bill is a sword and not a shield.

“Australia was promised a bill that would prevent discrimination on the basis of faith, but instead we have been given one that allows discrimination in the name of faith.”

Attorney General Michaelia Cash is expected to soon present a redrafted bill to Parliament.

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