LGBTQI advocates have asked the Australian Labor Party and opposition leader Anthony Albanese to spell out their plans for a Religious Discrimination Bill. 

This follows National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) setting an April 29 deadline for the ALP to explain “what a finalised Albanese Government Religious Discrimination Bill will contain”.

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“Given it seems likely that Labor will respond to the NCEC by 29 April, Just Equal is insisting on the same courtesy, and has referred Shadow-Attorney General Mark Dreyfus to our earlier correspondence,” Just.Equal spokesperson, Brian Greig. 

Four Questions For Labor

Just.Equal said they had written to Dreyfus with four questions on the issue. The organisation wanted to know, if a Labor government would “allow discrimination by faith-based schools against LGBTQ teachers at the point of recruitment, allow discrimination by faith-based schools against LGBTQ students under the guise of “religious belief”, allow discrimination against LGBTQ staff and volunteers in other faith-based services and override existing state and territory laws against LGBTQ discrimination, including existing protections for teachers in faith-based schools as well as Section 17 of Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act.” 

On February 10, 2022, Albanese had issued a statement after Prime Minister Scott Morrison indefinitely shelved his government’s Religious Discrimination Bill. This followed five Liberal MPs crossing the floor in the House to vote with Labor and Independents to introduce protections for LGBTQI students in the Bill. Following the amendments to the Bill to protect gay and trans students, the Bill did not seem to serve the purpose for conservative Christian organisations.

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Labor had called the Morrison’s bill to protect people of faith “flawed” and had said that an Albanese government would introduce one that is better.

Sadly, discrimination on the basis of faith is all too real. It might be a Muslim woman or a Sikh man being vilified on the streets because of what they are wearing. It might be a group of Jewish or Christian students being attacked because of their faith,” said Albanese. 

Labor’s Plan To Protect People Of Faith

“Labor is committed to ending this vilification and discrimination,” Albanese had said. 

“In doing so we must not diminish protections for other people in our society. That is what good legislation would have done.  Instead, the flawed legislation offered by the Morrison-Joyce Government was produced at the last minute, and failed to deliver on commitments the Prime Minister made to protect children.”

 “Labor was successful in amending the legislation to prohibit discrimination against school children because of who they are. This is a critical step towards ensuring their ongoing protection,” Albanese said. 

 Albanese promised that Labor’s Bill would “prevent discrimination against people of faith, including anti-vilification protections, act to protect all students from discrimination on any grounds; and, protect teachers from discrimination at work, whilst maintaining the right of religious schools to preference people of their faith in the selection of staff.”

 

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