Signifying the importance of the moment, Prime Minister Scott Morrison today tabled the government’s promised Religious Discrimination Bill.
His nation-building speech gave clarity and confidence to millions of everyday Australians, affirming the principle that religious people and the organisations they form should not be discriminated against, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
ACL’s National Director for Politics, Wendy Francis said,
“People of faith around our nation are grateful to the Prime Minister today for his leadership on behalf of the millions of religious Australians. Despite this latest version of the Religious Discrimination Bill being a significantly reduced document, it is a welcome first step and we commend the bill to all members for their support.
“This bill has been a work in progress since the last election, and ACL will continue to make the case for the statements of belief protection in the upcoming Senate Committee process. In particular we will advocate for the return of the ‘Folau’ clause, the purpose of which was to provide important and reasonable protections for religious individuals against over-reach by employers.
“Whilst it was troubling to see the absence of Labor members in the parliament to hear the Prime Minister’s speech, we remain encouraged by meetings with senior ALP members who have affirmed their support for religious freedom, backed by their public platform recognising ‘the right of religious organisations to act in accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings of their faith.’
“The majority of Australians self-identified as religious in the 2016 census. As we approach the 2022 federal election, all political parties will understand that people of faith will vote for the party that commits to provide genuine, not illusory, anti-discrimination protections for every Australian. As the Prime Minister said, ‘Faith and freedom are inseparable.’”