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Protests around Australia against religious discrimination bill

Activists around the country will rally over the coming weeks against the federal government’s controversial religious discrimination bill.

As well as Brisbane’s protest on Saturday 1 February, similar actions are set to be held in Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney.

The bill proposes giving people and organisations the legal right to discriminate against LGBTIQ people, women, and others on the grounds of religion.

Misinterpreted by some as a law to permit diverse ‘beliefs’ or the right to ‘offend’, it rather would specifically allow such discrimination as denying medical care or terminating employment.

Thousands of LGBTIQ people and human rights activists are expected to attend the Sydney protest, which has been organised by community groups Community Action for Rainbow Rights, LGBTI Rights Australia, and the National Union of Students.

“The Morrison Government is launching a broad attack on anyone who has won protection from discrimination in recent decades: women, LGBTIQ folk, people with disability, racial, ethnic and religious minorities,” said organisers.

“If passed, the law would give bigots across Australia the right to discriminate, deny the freedoms of others and impose their views in key areas of public life: healthcare, employment, education and other services.

“The Liberal government has been obsessed with passing these laws ever since they were outvoted on marriage equality.

“The Federal government wants to take the amended legislation to parliament early in 2020.

“It’s up to us to send a clear message to Morrison, and anyone else thinking about supporting this legislation, that the overwhelming majority of people oppose granting religious organisations, business owners, or whoever else the right to discriminate!”

The protest will take place at Sydney Town Hall from 1 pm on Saturday 8 February.

The Adelaide rally, organised by community group Connection, will be held from 1 pm on Saturday 25 January at Adelaide Parliament House.

The protest in Perth will be held from 1 pm on Saturday 8 February at Forrest Chase, hosted by Rainbow Rebellion WA.

The Melbourne protest, hosted by Rainbow Rebellion, will be held at the State Library of Victoria from 1 pm on Sunday 9 February.

People opposed to the bill have also been urged to make their voices heard by writing to their MPs and signing petitions available online.

Do you know of a protest taking place in another city? Please comment below or contact us.

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