Equality advocates have said they will lobby the Senate to block new laws that further protect religious freedom, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggested it was a priority on his agenda.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald recently, Morrison said legislative change to strengthen religious freedom was part of his agenda as the country’s new PM.

“Just because things haven’t been a problem in the past, doesn’t mean they won’t be a problem in the future,” he said.

“So I’ll be taking a proactive approach when it comes to ensuring that peoples’ religious freedoms are protected.

“At the end of the day, if you’re not free to believe in your own faith, well, you’re not free.”

In response, equality advocates have said they will urge the Senate to block any new laws that water down existing discrimination protections under the guise of ‘religious freedom’.

“There is no threat to religious freedom so we fear the real purpose of any new law will be to take existing discrimination protections away from LGBTI Australians,” said just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome.

“We will lobby the Senate to oppose any new law that waters down existing discrimination protections.

“Last year Australians voted overwhelmingly for equality and any move to weaken LGBTI discrimination protections would run against that.”

A YouGov poll conducted in February last year found that 65 per cent of Australians were against laws allowing LGBTI people to be refused services based on the service-provider’s religious beliefs.

Morrison has come under fire by the LGBTI community several times since becoming Prime Minister last month.

He refused to acknowledge concerns over gay conversion therapy, said he sent his daughters to private school so they could avoid the Safe Schools program, and denigrated teachers trained in trans inclusion as “gender whisperers”.

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