The Coalition has voted against a motion to consult with LGBTQI groups on the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill.

The Bill which is on track to be bought before the Australian Parliament by the end of 2021, would, among the many other detrimental effects on LGBTQI+ and other minority communities, allow doctors to refuse to perform abortions or to provide any healthcare for LGBTIQI+ people or families and give legal protection to institutions or individuals who object to same-sex marriages.

Many still believe that the bill was only put forward to appease the conservative right, following Australia voting yes to marriage equality in 2017.

Motion To Consult LGBT Community

The motion, put forward by Australian Greens Senator and LGBTQI+ spokesperson Janet Rice, called on the Federal Government to ensure that the rights of LGBTQI+ people are protected, including through changes to anti-discrimination law, rather than adopting positions that undermine the rights of LGBTQI people.

It also asked that the Federal Government commit to consulting with LGBTQI+ people, women, disability groups, minority religious groups and all others impacted, in the process of further redrafting its proposed legislations on religious discrimination.

Alongside members of the Morrison Government, those who voted against against the motion included One Nation Party and Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie, while independent South Australian Senator Rex Lyall Patrick abstained.

“It’s alarming that the government voted against this motion simply calling on them to protect LGBTIQ+ people’s rights and to consult with a range of affected communities ahead of re-introducing the Religious Discrimination Bill,” Senator Janet Rice told Star Observer.

Doubling down on her attack, Senator Rice went on to add that the  “Greens are also deeply concerned about Attorney-General Michaelia Cash’s ability to lead the consultation for and drafting of the religious discrimination bill in an inclusive way that will protect all Australians equally.”

“The Minister’s recent track record of voting against the rights of LGBTIQ+ people, including her support of the bigoted One Nation motion wanting to deny trans kids access to healthcare, raises questions about her ability to handle this complex and sensitive piece of legislation which will impact so many communities across the country.”

‘Inflammatory Language Not Helpful’

A source close to Senator Jacqui Lambie, who did not wish to be identified, told Star Observer that while Lambie “doesn’t disagree with the part of the motion that says that the government shouldn’t consult with LGBTQI people on the religious discrimination bill- she thinks that is important. But what she did disagree with was the preamble in the motion, the section which said that the Liberal and National parties voted for a transphobic motion, which was Senator Roberts’ motion, that was the part she didn’t agree with.

“She doesn’t think that sort of inflammatory language is helpful in the Senate and voted against it on that basis.”

This most recent vote is yet another attack on Australia’s LGBTQI communities and rights, in what is becoming an increasingly worrying trend within the Australian Senate and Government.

On the 16th of March 2021, a motion put to the Senate by One Nation’s Malcom Roberts, which asked that the Government restore the use of traditional gendered options on all government forms or applications, was passed by a majority vote of 33 to 31 after gaining support from Coalition senators.

Last week, Attorney-General Michaelia Cash, National Disability Insurance Scheme Minister Linda Reynolds and Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonathon Duniam, voted in favour of a motion that sought to restrict access to crucial treatment for transgender youth.

In 2018 Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government would enact a law to ban religious schools from expelling LGBTQI+ students, three years later there has yet been no move to keep that promise.

As it stands, it is still legal for schools to expel students and fire staff on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. This despite a recent survey once again having highlighted the prevalence of homophobia within Australian educational settings, with 90 percent of students saying they hear homophobic language at school.






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