With the Member for Newtown Jenny Leong, I urged the Attorney General to disregard the joint select committee report into Mark Latham’s ‘religious freedoms’ bill.
The bill creates new grounds for discrimination based on a tenuously defined concept of religious belief. Under the bill, anyone with a belief that they claim is based on religion would be able to discriminate against and vilify someone for their LGBTQIA+ status, marital status, or even religion. It would have far reaching impacts for people in minority groups or who have a history of discrimination and poor treatment.
Jenny and I sat on the committee but were outnumbered by members of the Parliamentary Friends of Religious Freedoms who created a voting bloc. Key witnesses like trans and gender diverse communities were excluded from hearings, and the LGBTQIA+ and human rights organisations that did appear were treated with disrespect. The final report removed any concern for the bill and did not reflect the evidence. We joined the Shadow Attorney General to oppose the bill.
At this stage it is not clear what the government will do but any support for the bill will be met by a fierce community campaign. Our letter: > HERE.