October 2 deadline for submissions on Religious Discrimination Bill

October 2 deadline for submissions on Religious Discrimination Bill
Image: Image: Australian Christian Lobby / YouTube.

LGBTQI faith groups are complaining about the short deadline given by the Morrison Government to lodge submissions on its draft Religious Discrimination Bill and the lack of consultation with them and other LGBTQI community advocates.

LGBTQI non-denominal Christian network Equal Voices and the Uniting Church LGBTIQ Network both expressed their concerns to the Star Observer about the October 2 deadline for people to make their views known on the legislation.

Uniting Network co-convenor the Rev. Peter Weeks said he saw no need for federal law to be updated in the way the government is proposing.

“It is our view that there is no need or demonstrable evidence for new religious freedom legislation,” Rev. Weeks said.

“It is our position that existing legislation that permits discrimination against LGBTIQ people in religious organisations is not only wrong but not theologically sustainable.”

“The … Government put the LGBTIQ community through an unnecessary and vitriolic postal survey campaign over an extended time period. That process created significant mental health issues for the LGBTIQ community that are still reverberating within the community today.”

“The Ruddock Inquiry was held in secret, and the final report withheld from the community for an extended period. During the development of these proposed pieces of legislation, there has been extensive consultations with communities of faith in developing these drafts, however there has been no consultation with the LGBTIQ community, who are the clear targets of these draft legislation.”

Weeks questioned why the consultation process on this new legislation needed to be rushed when the LGBTQI community had been subjected to such a drawn out process.

“There is just over a month for the community to comment on the exposure drafts which are extensive and their implication to the LGBTIQ community potentially severe,” Rev. Weeks said.

“We strongly call on the Prime Minister and the Attorney General to undertake a significant consultation period with the LGBTIQ community and delay any attempts to bring legislation to Parliament until the middle of 2020 at the earliest.”

Weeks’ comments were echoed by Equal Voices spokesperson, The Rev. Dr Josephine Inkpin, who called on Scott Morrison and Christian Porter to expand the deadline for consultation on the draft legislation.

“Equal Voices calls upon the Prime Minister and Attorney General to significantly expand the consultation process for the proposed Religious Freedom Legislation,” Rev. Inkpin said.

“We therefore request a delay in the introduction of any legislation until the middle of next year at the earliest.”

“As far as we know, there has not been any consultation in drafting this legislation with LGBTIAQ+ groups or LGBTIAQ+ communities of faith. These pieces of legislation appear clearly aimed at the LGBTIAQ+ community in response to the introduction of the Marriage Equality laws in 2017, which were overwhelmingly supported by the Australian population.”

“The Attorney General has not been able, in our view, to adequately demonstrate the need for such legislation, nor is there justification for this last-minute speed, especially given the serious lack of consultation. The Liberal-National Coalition Government has already put the LGBTIAQ+ community through significant pain and anguish as a result of its unnecessary and extended postal survey process. This latest proposed legislation is likely to have a much more pervasive impact on Australian society and simply hasn’t been subject to real consultation or review.”

“More concerningly, in rushing this legislation through, the Government has failed to address the issues of LGBTIAQ+ children and teachers in schools, which in 2018 was a first-order urgent issue. This crucially important matter has been deferred until after this legislation has legislation has been passed, leaving LGBTIAQ+ students and teachers at risk.”

“It is our view that existing privileges to religious organisations should be removed rather than expended.”

If you would like to make a submission on the draft Religious Discrimination bill or any of the related amendments you can do so via the Attorney General’s website at https://www.ag.gov.au/Consultations/Pages/religious-freedom-bills.aspx

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7 responses to “October 2 deadline for submissions on Religious Discrimination Bill”

  1. Lets be realistic, shall we?
    The Federal Government is run by a man who claims to be a Christian, bit who knows nothing about what it means to actually be a “Christian”. never forget Morrison was Immigration Minister. A man who believed, and still believes, that if you are “Not Quite White and a Christian as well” you have no right to come to Australia. A man, along with his racist Minister Peter Dutton uses as an excuse to get rid of those who are “Not Quite White” on the grounds that they, Morrison & Dutton, have decided are “Economic Refugees” and therefore not Real refugees. On the other hand let some white, red-neck racist bastard s and their families from South Africa arrive and Morrison and Dutton welcome them with open arms.
    We can expect nothing from this legislation. It will give every racist, red-neck self-styled Christians the Right to vilify and attack our and any other community which does not conform to their bastardised form of Christianity
    Of course the Ruddock Inquiry was held in total secret. It was set up by these so-called, self-styled “Good Christians” to ensure Hatred and Vilification were allowed to flourish.
    The biggest tragedy of all is that Anthony Albanese and his ALP, just as they refuse to support Morrison’s Anti-Paedophile legislation (possibly the only bit of honest, decent legislation Morrison & Co have introduced) they will support this Religious Discrimination Legislation. Legislation which will allow Morrison, Dutton, Abetz and their pseudo-Christian mates to spread hatred and Vilification against us and others and at the same time make it a Criminal Offence for anyone to even criticise the Paedophile supporting Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Lutherans and others.

  2. How does one get to read this elusive bill? I searched everywhere on the net and cannot find it. Is this another example of Morrison’s penchant for (as far as possible) secret government which excludes any information to the general public ?

    • Found on the dark web, just the way government always does business and the Labor party getting $100,000 in an ALDI bag! Ha ha!

  3. Why does the Star Observer defer to LGBTQIA+ religious groups when seeking a community response to religious-based discrimination? Some 30% of Australians, and 57% of same-sex couples, self-identified themselves in the 2016 Census as having no religion. Where is their voice in this article? Why have they been excluded?

    If the Star Observer wishes to present a case against religious discrimination and privilege, it should start with its own journalism.

  4. There seems to be worldwide a systematic onslaught of rejection towards LGBTI people’s it is almost a considered genocide that is wanted by religious groups to whom we do no harm