Version 2.0 of the Morrison Government’s controversial religious discrimination bill was met with just as much disdain as the first option. In fact, groups representing the LGBTIQ community argue it’s far worse.
Protest rallies are happening around the country this weekend, slamming the Coalition’s bill for “immunising bigotry.” LGBTIQ groups will lead rallies in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane.
What is the religious discrimination bill?
The Australian Human Rights Commission reviewed the new version of bill. And while the AHRC commended the idea of prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of religion, it warned the bill would “provide protection to religious belief or activity at the expense of other rights.”
Under the revised bill – released just before Morrison jetted off to Hawaii – places like religious hospitals, aged care facilities and accommodation providers would be permitted to discriminate against staff on the basis of religion. The objective of this clause? To preserve the “religious ethos” of the organisation.
Watch: UNSW law dean George Williams on the Religious Discrimination Bill
Why the changes?
The second draft protects religious institutions from any serious claims of discrimination levied against them. That is, granted they’re just trying “to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of adherence of their faith”. These changes were essentially made to meet the demands of places like the Sydney Anglican diocese.
But while the Anglicans are pleased with the update, the Australian Medical Association not so. They’ve criticised the bill for threatening “the rights of some doctors by enabling employers to discriminate against them based on religious belief.”
Sydney activist organisation Community Action For Rainbow Rights claims the Morrison Government’s bill attacks “everyone who ever won protection from discrimination in recent decades.” Included in this category are LGBTIQ people, women, people with disabilities and racial, ethnic and religious minorities.
CARR are organising the Sydney protest rally – No Right to Discriminate: Protest the Religious Freedom Bill! It takes place at Sydney Town Hall on Saturday February 8 from 1pm-3pm. Full details here
Brisbane’s Kill the Bill rally takes place at King George Square from 5pm onwards.
Melbourne protestors will rally against the religious discrimination bill at the State Library of Victoria from 3pm-5pm.
Adelaide is protesting against the religious discrimination act at Parliament House from 1pm.
And in Perth, Rainbow Rebellion WA are hosting No Right to Discriminate! #2 at Forrest Chase in the CBD from 1pm.