A bill to strengthen protections for religious Australians by overriding state discrimination laws has drawn criticism from all political circles.
The bills will be presented to Parliament by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday and are expected to be investigated by the Senate for further consideration.
Equality Australia is concerned about removing existing protections against discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
“The goal (…) is to enable people to say, write and communicate things that might be discriminatory today,” he said.
The right-wing Institute of Public Affairs think tank believes the bill is “too vague” to effectively protect believers.
“By adding more laws to bad laws, the government risks doing more harm than good,” he said.
One of the most controversial parts of the bill, watered down to appease the moderates, is a clause designed to protect people from laws that discriminate for speaking out about their beliefs.
Moderate Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman fears the bill will prioritize religious views over others.
“I am afraid that this does indeed give primacy to a human right, if I can put it that way, in circumstances where the same protections are not provided to others,” he told the Commission on Wednesday. ABC radio.
“I am concerned about deviating from state laws. This is one of the issues I have raised and will continue to raise with the Attorney General.”
Under the government’s compromise proposal, statements of belief that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, defamatory or malicious would not be protected.
Religious schools may favor hiring someone of the same faith over another equally qualified candidate with different beliefs as long as this policy is stated publicly.
The long-promised bill has its roots in the Conservatives’ concern about same-sex marriage.
Equality Australia is concerned that people may lose protections against discrimination at work, school or when accessing health care to accommodate the religious beliefs of other people saying discriminatory things.
For example, the organization is concerned that a boss, colleague, teacher or service provider may be protected for saying things, including that it is a sin to be gay.
“Our laws should protect us all equally,” Equality Australia said.
“People of faith and those without religious beliefs can be protected from discrimination without removing protections for others. “
Meanwhile, the Australian Christian Lobby is not happy with the changes to the bill, which means workers can be held accountable for making statements about their belief in their free time if these violate the code. conduct of an employer.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce wants “to make sure that a person who has faith does not have to hide it under a blanket”.
Labor is examining the merits of the bill, wary of the risk of being stuck on the issue as the election draws near.
“We’re going to look at this – it shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese told reporters.
Associated Australian Press