Scott Morrison’s attempt to legalise discrimination against the trans and gay community was derailed. In the House, 5 MPs crossed the floor to vote to protect LGBTQI students. And in the Senate, Senator Andrew Bragg reportedly said he would vote against the Morrison government’s Religious Discrimination Bill, ensuring the legislation’s defeat.

Bridget Archer, Katie Allen, Fiona Martin, Dave Sharma, and Trent Zimmerman voted with Labor and the crossbench to remove exemptions for religious schools and add protections for gay and transgender students. 

Discrimination Towards Trans Children was a Red Line for Me, Says Dave Sharma

Explaining his vote, Member for Wentworth Dave Sharma, told Star Observer that “discrimination towards trans children was a red line for me and a few others and that’s why we crossed the floor as we did.”

Sharma had other concerns as well, including, “the statement of belief provisions as they’re called in the Act Section 12. And potentially giving religious speech a privileged position over other speech in our society.”

When asked about potential political fallout for crossing the floor, Sharma responded, “There will probably be some repercussions but that’s the price I think is worth paying to do the right thing here.”

The Bill now heads to the Senate, but Sharma does not believe there “needs to be any great hurry in doing that. When you’re dealing with complicated issues we can afford to be patient.” 

Prepared To Vote Against Bill, Says Senator Andrew Bragg

According to Sydney Morning Herald, Senator Andrew Bragg told the government he was prepared to cross the floor to protect transgender children. 

Senator Bragg told Star Observer that the reason for his stance was his concern for “the treatment of students in schools.” 

Bragg believes transgender students are “one of the most vulnerable communities in Australia,” and stressed that he wants to see “every child in Australia protected from discrimination.”

“A mark of a society is how it looks after its minorities and so we need to ensure that we protect the trans community and I’m committed to doing that,” he said

Discrimination Against Teachers is Unacceptable

Sharma and Bragg raised concerns about the provisions that put teachers at risk of job discrimination. Sharma said, “We have seen, on a regular basis, real life examples of teachers who are being discriminated against, losing their jobs, being forced out of teaching position because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and I dont think that is acceptable in Australia today.”

At the passing of the amendment, Sydney MP Alex Greenwich tweeted, “History remembers you for the tough decisions, especially the ones that change people lives. Provisions that allowed schools to discriminate against [LGBTQ+] kids have now been removed.”

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