Anti-LGBTI campaigners have spoken out on Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s religious freedom proposals, saying they don’t go far enough.

The Australian Christian Lobby and Australian Conservatives Senate candidate Lyle Shelton have taken issue with the changes, with Shelton describes them as “flawed”.

Morrison announced yesterday that the government would abandon its pledge to protect LGBTI students from discrimination at religious schools, and seek to enact a Religious Discrimination Act, among other changes.

“It’s ironic that 12 months down the track politicians continue to deal with the consequences of redefining marriage when campaigners said there would be no consequences,” Shelton said in a statement.

“Our nation needs to put freedom first, not the demands of identity politics. The next election will be all about protecting basic freedoms which are under attack from toxic identity politics,” said the former head of the ACL.

“The Government’s proposed religious freedoms act with a religious freedom commissioner at the bureaucratic and flawed Australian Human Rights Commission would only set up further conflict between identity groups.

“It will be lawyers at five paces. That’s not the Australian way – we want to live and let live respecting difference and diversity,” Shelton claimed.

“All provisions in anti-discrimination law that make it an offence to insult or offend should be repealed or overridden.

“Same-sex marriage has weaponised anti-discrimination laws and today’s attempts to restore freedom are just creating a camel.

“Freedom needs to be protected – including and especially the right to dissent from the rainbow gender-fluid world view.”

The Australian Christian Lobby’s current Managing Director, Martyn Iles, concurred with Shelton, saying that the proposed changes “have a long way to go”.

“The efficacy of the proposed Religious Discrimination Act will depend on whether the expression of traditional beliefs about marriage, gender, sexuality and family are explicitly protected,” Iles said.

“Because of the nature of religious belief, the Act should also ensure compulsion against conscience is considered a detriment and therefore religious discrimination.

“Certain entities should also be protected under the Act, like not-for-profits with a religious ethos, including discrimination by governments in the discretionary allocation of funding and other benefits.

“It’s disappointing to see there are no protections for freedom of speech, conscience, or a positive right to religious freedom,” Iles said.

“Ruddock is a start, but there is no doubt we have a long way to go to ensure that religious freedom continues to mean something in Australia.

The ACL’s statement ends by saying that they will seek further protections for “the millions of Australians for whom religious conviction is fundamental to their identity.”

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