SYDNEY, Nov 25 (Asia Free Press): Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday addressed in the Parliament regarding the religious discrimination bill, which is yet to be passed from the Parliament, according to media reports.
In his address, Morrison said, “our anti-discrimination laws play an essential role in protecting the liberty of our citizens, each as an individual human being.”
“Today, we fixed an important weakness in our discrimination laws as our govt promised to do, to the people of Australia, at the last election. Today we honour that commitment,” Morrison added.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the legislation would give a legitimate right to people who express their religious faith outside of the workplace as long as it did not cause financial disaster to their employer.
While introducing the bill in the Parliament’s lower house, Morrison said, “People should not be cancelled or persecuted or vilified because their beliefs are different from someone else’s”.
Morrison said the legislation would also be helpful to secure Australians who make “statements of belief” from discrimination laws, but only if those statements do not “threaten, scare, harass or vilify a person or group”.
According to sources, the bill has also divided the Parliament, with some conservative government legislators threatening to vote against the legislation until Morrison moves to shed state mandates requiring COVID-19 vaccines.
The legislation is expected to be put to the vote next week in the lower house, but it is far from guaranteed to pass into law. The bill is expected to be reviewed before being voted on in the upper house (Senate) sometime in 2022-23.
“Australia’s Parliament is in its last sitting fortnight for the year, and Morrison could call an election before it resumes in 2022. Morrison must return to the polls by May 2022.
In a reaction, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) groups support reforming the Act but have criticised the new bill by saying it would enable discrimination against gay students and teachers as it permits prioritising the hiring and enrolment of people based on faith.