LGBTIQ equality advocates have called on federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese to follow the lead of Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister Andrew Barr in condemning the religious discrimination bill.
Rodney Croome, spokesperson for national advocacy group just.equal, said that the bill threatened the anti-discrimination protections first instated by Labor.
“We welcome Andrew’s Barr’s truth-telling about the dangers of the religious discrimination bill, and call on Anthony Albanese and other Labor leaders to follow Mr Barr’s lead,” he said.
“The religious discrimination bill rolls back existing discrimination protections at a federal, state, and territory level, most of which are a Labor legacy.
“The bill will also allow increased discrimination and denigration against people who have traditionally fallen foul of religious dogma, including LGBTIQ people, people with disability, religious and racial minorities, and Indigenous people.
“It’s time for Labor to stand up for the minorities who will suffer increased discrimination and denigration, to stand up for values like inclusion and equality, and to stand up for its own anti-discrimination legacy.”
Croome said that other Labor leaders including Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, and Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan must also speak out against the bill.
“By giving religious views special legal privileges, the religious discrimination bill threatens to return Australia to a time when competing religious leaders denounced vulnerable social groups and each other in a race to the bottom of the cesspit of sectarianism,” he said.
Barr stated in a submission about the bill that Labor were concerned it could permit abuse and discrimination against groups including women and trans people, such as in healthcare and employment settings.
“[The bill] may protect a general refusal to provide contraception or hormone treatment… potentially permitting indirect discrimination against groups such as women and transgender persons,” said Barr.
“The ACT government is concerned [the bill] would limit the capacity of employers to maintain tolerance and diversity in Australian workplaces.”
The second draft of the religious discrimination bill was release in December, with Labor reportedly not consulted.
Submissions from the public were accepted by the federal government about the bill until the end of January.