Attorney-General Michaelia Cash is to bring a major rewrite of the contentious Religious Discrimination Bill to parliament by December, sparking new debate over faith-based and gay rights before the next election. Source: The Australian.
Religious leaders are calling for major changes to the bill – a key 2019 election promise from Scott Morrison – including overriding Victorian bans on gay conversion therapy and broadening the definition of faith-based institutions.
Both Liberal MPs and faith leaders say Senator Cash’s final bill will be significantly different to the drafts put out by her predecessor, Christian Porter, before the bill was shelved during the height of the COVID-19 crisis.
Senator Cash said yesterday the bill would be put forward before the end of the year, possibly avoiding a clash with a federal election campaign in early 2022.
Religious leaders have been anxious to restart the push for religious discrimination protections during the pandemic when many faith institutions faced strict COVID-19 restrictions.
Before the pandemic, there were already concerns that Mr Porter’s draft legislation was too limited and did not have the power to significantly protect faith-based groups.
Victoria’s ban on gay conversion therapy last February has sparked new concerns among religious leaders pushing for a federal religious discrimination act.
Melbourne Archbishop Peter A Comensoli is due to meet Senator Cash, Government MPs and members of the Labor Party to discuss a religious discrimination act.
He said yesterday there was room to move on improving the draft legislation.
Religious Discrimination Bill set for second coming this year (By Richard Ferguson, The Australian)