Equality Australia CEO, Anna Brown*, responds to reports today that the Catholic Church is pushing to undermine state-based discrimination laws with new federal measures that are allegedly going to cabinet this morning.
“We’re deeply concerned about the push by institutions like the Catholic Church to enshrine religious privilege. Religious institutions should not be above the laws that apply to everyday Australians – we’ve just had a Royal Commission into the problems caused by these institutions when they have unfettered power.
“It’s incredibly unorthodox to provide protections for religious organisations. Anti-discrimination laws are to protect people, not institutions.
“Any new federal anti-discrimination laws should not punch a hole through existing protections at federal or state levels. State anti-discrimination protections are hard won rights that keep LGBTIQ people safe at work by protecting them from bullying and harassment.
“The genesis of this reform was the false premise, peddled by the Australian Christian Lobby and other religious institutions like the Catholic Church, that marriage equality somehow posed a threat to the ability of Australians to express and practice their faith.
“Since the passage of marriage equality, we have seen no evidence that people are unable to practice their faith.
“LGBTIQ people remain deeply concerned that equality will be wound back for our families and communities in the name of religious freedom
“Our understanding from discussion with the Attorney’s office is that the Government would be consulting with LGBTIQ groups on a draft Bill ahead of any consideration by parliament and we expect that this commitment will be honoured”, concluded Ms Brown.
*uses she/her pronouns
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